By Matt Brown
17-year-old Macsen Sisam has given New Zealand tennis fans a glimpse of his future potential by winning through to the men's singles final at the New Zealand Tennis Championships in Auckland.
It's been a long time since Kiwi fans have had something to get enthused about in men's singles, but the country's second ranked junior has shown he's a talent with some real potential.
Sisam, who knocked out defending champion Artem Sitak in the quarter-finals, has backed it up with a hard fought 7-6, (7-3) 7-6 (8-6) win over third seed Olly Sadler.
Sisam is overjoyed with his performance.
"I've had quite a few matches under my belt lately but I've been nervous all week," Sisam said.
"For me it's really good because I found out the other day that I rolled my ankle a few times and actually need surgery on it. So I thought if I played well and got some good wins I could delay it until later in the year. So getting these wins under my belt I feel really good because I have the Junior Australian Open and tournaments in Asia to come."
Sisam will face top seed Finn Tearney for the title and a wildcard entry into singles qualifying at the ASB Classic. Tearney, who lost last year's final to Sitak, overcame wildcard Anton Bettink 7-5, 6-0 in the first semifinal.
The 27-year-old has spent the past six months sidelined with a herniated disc in his back and has recently been coaching in Wellington.
'I started a bit slow and it was a bit breezy on court. I was hitting the ball short but he was playing well. In the second set I played much better, hit deeper so it was good," Tearney said.
His form this week has restored Tearney's confidence after a frustrating six months due to the injury.
"I've had some average times but I decided to stop and was just doing rehab and coaching so I made some money. I lost like five kilos so I am moving pretty well."
"I always like competing so I am just focusing on tomorrow and trying to recover tonight because I've only had six or seven matches in the last seven months, so we will see how it goes tomorrow," Tearney said.
"I've never played Macsen before but I went over to Asia earlier this year and was there to help him out. I was hitting with him a bit over there so I know him well. He's a nice kid, a great competitor and fiery. He's like a boxer and a good player."
Sacha Jones and Katherine Westbury will fight it out for the women's singles title.
Third seeded Jones swept aside top seed Joanne Carswell 6-0 6-2 in 50 minutes and will face fourth seed Katherine Westbury who thrashed 17 year old 7th seed Emilia Price 6-1, 6-0.
27-year-old Jones is chasing her fifth national title and until she played the Auckland champs a couple of weeks ago, hadn't played a match in two years, spending her time coaching.
She was aggressive from the outset and used her powerful forehand to overpower her 29-year-old opponent, racing through the first set in just 19 minutes.
Carswell briefly rallied at the start of the second set breaking serve in the first game. But Jones immediately broke back and then raced through the set 6-2.
Jones says she was able to get her rhythm going early in the match.
"I really got into it quickly. My forehand is good and I coach a lot so do a lot of repetitive stuff. I was pleasantly surprised with my backhand as well."
"I didn't know how I would be when I entered and it feels really good just to be out there again," Jones said.
24-year-old Westbury outclassed Price in 45 minutes and Jones says "it will be a really tough match, having beaten her in three sets in the 2014 final."
The men's singles final starts at 4pm followed by the women's singles final and the men's doubles at the ASB Tennis Arena.