Sydney’s O’Connell claims Blacktown
Chris O'Connell has defeated fellow Sydney local Max Purcell in the Blacktown final, earning his fifth ITF Futures title of 2016.
Sydney’s Chris O’Connell has dispatched fellow local Max Purcell in under an hour to take the inaugural title at the Blacktown Tennis International.
It was a clinical display from the world No.265 as he backed up an impressive week at home to win 6-2 6-2.
“I played some good tennis this week,” the top seed said. “The conditions really suited me.
“It was pretty cool to play Max in the final as well. He’s a good mate and he lives just down the road from me. He’s had an awesome year and he’s a really up-and coming junior, so I had to bring my A-game.”
O’Connell, 22, said he enjoyed playing in his hometown.
“It didn’t really feel like I was in a tournament,” he said. “I was cruising back home after matches and sitting around the pool or going to the beach. It was a really good environment to play in.
“My whole family was out there for the final and a couple of my mates as well.”
Both Blacktown finalists have enjoyed breakthrough years in 2016 with Purcell winning an ATP Challenger title in Korea and O’Connell reaching a semifinal in Romania.
O’Connell also took ITF Futures titles in Cairns and Port Pirie, adding to the two he collected in Serbia.
“The big goal of mine this year was just to play match after match,” O’Connell said. “I think I’ve played about 80 this year in around 25 tournaments. I get a bit out of playing every single one whether its tactically or mentally in how to deal with situations.”
O’Connell whipped through his matches in Blacktown with ease aside from a semifinal encounter with Indian third seed Sumit Nagal, where he held match points before being forced into a deciding set tiebreaker.
“I did feel pretty comfortable,” he said of the match. “But after the match points it was a bit tough to come back. Luckily, I managed to turn it around and play a really good tiebreak.”
O’Connell will now head into a training block before competing in the Australian Open Wildcard Play-Off in mid-December.
Third seeds Steven de Waard and American Jarmere Jenkins claimed the Blacktown doubles title on Saturday with a 6-4 6-2 victory over Indian first seeds Nagal and Sriram Bilaji.