The Goulburn Valley JT/AMT Championships are heating up ahead of today’s final matches at Shepparton Lawn Tennis Club.
In the marquee singles events a distinct local flavour has emerged, with chances in the men’s and women’s decider.
Echuca’s Erik Holt-Crossman, who came into the event as the number two seed, will take on top seed Josh Charlton in a men’s final that could certainly go the distance.
Holt-Crossman has conceded just 19 games in eight sets and would be confident in his ability to tackle and defeat Charlton.
In the women’s event, Shepparton’s Hope Curtis-McDonald secured her chance at glory with victory over Tatura’s Brooke Starling in the semi-final, 7-5, 6-2.
The unseeded Curtis-McDonald will face tournament favourite Olivia Ryan after the number one seed knocked off two-time defending champ Eliza Long.
The thrilling semi-final went the distance, but Ryan was too strong in the tiebreak 10-1 after the pair each took a set 6-4.
Curtis-McDonald has already had a good look at Ryan after losing to her in the women’s doubles semi-final yesterday.
Ryan, paired with Nicole Mullen, outlasted local duo Curtis-McDonald and Starling 5-7, 7-6(5), 10-7 in an epic contest.
Ryan and Mullen are the top-seeded pair in the event and will take on third seeds Steffi McDonald and Keona Mendis today.
The men’s doubles section still had plenty of matches remaining to be played at the time of writing, but Shepparton’s Nick Gattuso (combining with Sam McHarg) had made his way through to the semi-final and Holt-Crossman (playing with David Hough) had reached the quarter-final stage.
Gattuso’s unseeded run included a 2-6, 7-6(4), 10-7 win over the fifth seeds in the final eight, a 6-4, 6-2 victory over the fourth seeds in the last 16 and a 6-2, 6-4 triumph over the 16th seeds in the final 32.
Local hopes remaining in the mixed doubles at the time of writing included Jarrod Bingham (paired with Long) and the pairings of James and Hope Curtis-McDonald and Matthew and Brooke Starling.
All five players were looking to book semi-final berths late yesterday evening.
Eighteen junior categories are also being fought out across the courts, with the next generation of tennis talent on show for the strong crowds in attendance.