Young Kiwi Rob Reynolds has secured his first ATP world ranking point after coming back from a set down to beat Australian Rhys Searant at the EVES Open in Tauranga on Tuesday. The 25-year-old from Hawke’s Bay won 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 and was one of 10 New Zealand players to win their first-round singles matches at Venture Developments WBOP Tennis Centre in Gordon Spratt Reserve, Pāpāmoa.
“Honestly over the moon to achieve my first ATP point,” Reynolds said.
“It has been a lifelong goal, so to actually make it happen is surreal. Also, such good vibes at the EVES Open – Tauranga is a great place to host tennis.”
The first round of the EVES Open – ITF World Tennis Tour: Tauranga was played over Monday and Tuesday, after qualifying matches were held on Sunday.
This is a professional event for men and women with official ATP and WTA world ranking points and a total prize pool of NZ$70,000.
Players from all over Europe, North America, Asia and Australia are competing, as well as a strong New Zealand contingent.
Kiranpal Pannu beat fellow New Zealander Jack Loutit 6-2, 6-1 in the first round.
“It’s amazing, to get ATP points in our backyard is something us Kiwis don’t experience often,” Pannu said.
“My first round was good, it’s never easy to play another Kiwi. I’m looking forward to the tournament to keep rolling on.”
Second seed Rubin Statham, from New Zealand, beat Yuichiro Inui from Japan 7-6, 6-3. Kiwi Isaac Becroft had a good win over American Preston Brown 6-2, 6-4 and first seed Ajeet Rai, from New Zealand, overcame Australian Jesse Delaney 7-6, 6-4.
In the women’s competition, Kiwi Jade Otway beat Ashmitha Easwaramurthi from India 6-1, 6-1.
New Zealand’s Paige Hourigan won 6-1, 6-2 against compatriot Sofia Shing, and Kiwi Monique Barry beat Australian Angelina Graovac 6-1, 6-2.
Elyse Tse, who came through qualifying, beat fellow New Zealander Taleia Tuatao 6-1, 6-3. New Zealand’s Erin Routliffe was leading Norwegian Lene Mari Bolkesjo Hovda 6-4, 3-6, 3-2 when the match was abandoned due to rain on Tuesday.
It was picked up again on Wednesday morning and Routliffe won the final set 6-2 to progress to round two.
“The EVES Open is proving to be everything we had hoped it would be,” Tennis New Zealand chief executive Julie Paterson said.
“The quality of tennis has been remarkable, the Pāpāmoa crowd has been fantastic, the sun has been out for long stretches, and most importantly our New Zealand players are progressing their professional careers at home,” she said.
“Rob winning his first ATP point is the perfect example of why Tennis New Zealand is so eager to host events like this – it gives our young emerging pros a chance to kick start their careers without leaving the country.”
Vicki Semple, sponsorship and events manager for title sponsor EVES Real Estate, said the atmosphere was brilliant during round one, with plenty of Tauranga locals and visitors from out of town sitting on the grass bank together soaking up the sun.
“The crowd sizes are getting bigger by the day and with delicious coffee and food on offer, as well as locally brewed cold beer and cider, people seem to be more than happy to spend an afternoon enjoying this fast-paced tennis. Come along and join us, this sporting spectacle shouldn’t be missed.”
Meanwhile, in the doubles, Kiwi pairing Kyna Decruy and Ruby Young are through to round two after beating Leah Patuwairua and Hilary Woodham 6-3, 6-4.
New Zealand’s Renee Zhang has teamed up with Australian Ashley Katz and they won their first-round match against Alkmini Giannakogiorgou from Greece and Katie Oliver from New Zealand – 6-3, 2-6, 15-13.
In the men’s doubles, there are four Kiwi pairings through to round two, plus Jack Loutit who is playing with Japan’s Daisuke Sumizawa.
Ajeet Rai and Finn Reynolds, Rob Reynolds and Anton Shepp, Reece Falck and George Stoupe, and Caelan Potts and James Watt all had wins in round one.
The EVES Open – ITF World Tennis Tour: Tauranga is running from December 18-24 at Venture Developments WBOP Tennis Centre in Gordon Spratt Reserve, Pāpāmoa. Entry is free for spectators.