What an effort.
Hope Curtis-McDonald produced a stellar comeback to defeat the top seed and take home the Goulburn Valley AMT women’s championship, 3-6, 6-3, 12-10.
Nothing about yesterday’s win came easy, with the Shepparton talent forced to play out a super tiebreaker in order to proudly hold up the winner’s trophy.
Taking the court against Geelong’s Olivia Ryan, the unseeded Curtis-McDonald entered the match with confidence stemming from a successful summer.
But halfway through the opening set, her opposition began to take a hold on the contest.
With the scoreline sitting at three games apiece, Ryan’s focus and supreme timing enabled the number one seed to show exactly why she deserved that ranking.
But following the first set defeat, Curtis-McDonald, 22, found the resolve she has shown all tournament.
The defining moment of the match came in the third game of the second set.
The game continued on for an interminable period, as countless times each player gained the advantage before making a mistake and returning the scoreline to deuce.
Eventually, Curtis-McDonald made the breakthrough by claiming the game and then following with another on her serve.
Ryan got back in the groove she had to win the first set, but Curtis-McDonald claimed the second to send the game into a super tiebreaker.
Even more heroics ensued as she turned around a sizeable deficit to take delight in a hometown win.
‘‘When I was 5-2 down in the tiebreaker there was a bit of doubt that I don’t think I’m going to get through this, but I tried to keep confident because from the second set I thought I had the momentum,’’ Curtis-McDonald said.
‘‘Usually when I’m playing at home I don’t play as well because I get nervous, I think I’m playing for a lot more because you’ve got people supporting you and it’s more for them than me.
‘‘My parents have put in a lot of effort with so many lessons and so many tournaments to travel to over the years.’’
Coming from a supreme tennis family in the region, the potent left-hander also said her twin brother James and older brother Cal were vital influences.
‘‘They’ve been really good and watching all my matches, they’ve been very supportive and when you lose on points they’re encouraging, it’s nice to have them and have some support,’’ Curtis-McDonald said.
The final lasted for two hours yesterday, with Curtis-McDonald having to back up from a marathon semi-final win against Brooke Starling.
Curtis-McDonald defeated her doubles partner following an enduring three-hour test, with Starling one of the first to congratulate her partner following the title win.