Hot cross Byrnes at Easter

April 03, 2018

Daniel Byrnes raises the Maurie Rowlands Open Men's Singles trophy for the seventh time.

Daniel Byrnes shows off his backhand during the straight-sets final win.

Josh Tran pushed his final opponent all the way but couldn't get the chocolates.

Daniel Byrnes has done it again.

Byrnes, 33, further cemented his legacy as one of Shepparton Easter Tennis Tournament’s all-time greats by claiming his seventh title in yesterday’s final.

He had a cruisy run to the final, but met his match in the form of No.2 seed Josh Tran.

Melbourne-based Tran got out of trouble in his opening two matches, coming from a set down to beat Curt Garwood and Matt Starling before a confident semi-final win against Nicholas Gattuso 6-3, 6-3.

But Byrnes, who dropped just eight games in three matches on his way to the final, again delivered, knocking off his younger opponent 6-4, 7-6 in yesterday’s beautiful conditions.

Byrnes said the title was made sweeter by knocking off a player of Tran’s quality.

‘‘I’m really excited, it’s been a good couple of days and I’m really happy to be able to win,’’ Byrnes said.

‘‘Josh is very hard to play; he’s got big ground strokes, a lot of power and is very quick.

‘‘It was just a matter of trying to mix up the paces and all that sort of thing, and definitely important to get off to a good start.

‘‘The first couple of days I played fairly well, and today the conditions were tough. It was pretty windy and the sun was in an awkward spot, so it was pretty challenging and great to get a win.’’

He said he had played his first Easter tournament aged 10 or 11 — and made it a regular fixture in his calendar.

‘‘I think I like the courts here, they’re really nice,’’ Byrnes said.

‘‘And I like the grass, and the whole atmosphere. It’s pretty relaxing and my brother and sister, we all come down here and have done for a long time. It’s just one of those things that we really enjoy doing.

‘‘I’m 33 now, so it’s been 23 or 24 years — It’s just a place we’ve always enjoyed.’’

Beaten finalist Tran acknowledged the class of his opponent in his runner-up speech.

‘‘Congratulations on your 20th title here Daniel,’’ he said with a laugh.

‘‘He played really well and deserved to win it.’’

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