SA teams make it through to the South West Conference ATL finals
The final weekend of ATL South West Conference round robin matches were played in Adelaide and Perth over the weekend.
The final weekend of ATL South West Conference round robin matches were played in Adelaide and Perth over the weekend with some nail biting results going the way of the South Australian teams to set up two all SA finals at Memorial Drive this Friday night from 5:45pm.
Teams will compete for $20,000 in prize money and a spot at the Asia Pacific Tennis League Playoffs to be played at the Australian Open in January.
In the men’s competition Perth based teams the Hensman Heat and Mt Lawley Mavericks had a successful start to the weekend of matches when they both registered wins on Friday night at Tea Tree Gully Tennis Club. The Heat provided the upset of the round robin stage when they upstaged the Trinity Titans in a tie which was only split on games after Rubbers and Sets were level.
The SA men’s teams hit back on Saturday at Broadview Tennis Club with The Drive winning all four singles matches against Mt Lawley. Queenslander Ryan Agar led the way for The Drive with a three set win while team mates Lawrence Bataljin, Paul Kramberger and Yuya Ito also played their part with strong wins.
It all came down to Super Sunday at Next Generation, Memorial Drive, where a feast of tennis was available for spectators with the Junior ATL and Super 10’s finals played across all surfaces before the final round of the ATL started at 12:30pm.
A total of 18 courts were used with over 100 hours of tennis played using the new FAST4 format. Fortunately for the strong crowd, home team The Drive were able to get out of jail against the Hensman Heat after trailing 1-3 after the singles matches had been completed to sneak home with a tight victory after winning both doubles matches and claim as spot in the finals.
The Drive were joined in the final by the Trinity Titans who also had a tight win over Mt Lawley to secure their place in Friday night’s final. The Titans won their first two round robin matches and finished with a 3-1 overall record and top spot in the men’s ATL South West Conference.
The Titans and The Drive will now match up in a final for the second year in a row and again look to be evenly matched. Trinity number one Darren Polkinghorne, who is yet to lose an ATL match this season will be brimming with confidence when he takes on Ryan Agar. Trinity young guns Li Tu and Sam Longhurst will need to rebound from recent losses and injury issues to give Trinity a chance of making it through the ATL Playoffs.
For The Drive, South Australian born touring player Paul Kramberger, youngster Lawrence Bataljin and Japan’s Yuya Ito all look to have a slight edge over their potential individual opponents from Trinity. It will likely come down to the doubles where Trinity may have the edge with experienced players Colin Ebelthite and Adam Alessandrini expected to feature strongly.
Over in Perth, The Drive ladies team were able to secure back to back wins over their WA opponents on Friday and Saturday to secure their place in the final. South African pair Chanel Simmonds and Michelle Sammonds both hit their straps with strong performances to push The Drive up into the top two.
The Drive will take on reigning SA ATL women’s champions, the Flagstaff Freighters who have progressed through to their fourth consecutive ATL final without losing a match. Flagstaff have been one of the powerhouse teams of the ATL since its inception in 2011 and will again be hard to beat however, The Drive look to be the strongest team to have faced the Freighters in any of the three previous finals they have been successful in.
The key match up will be at number one singles with South African Chanel Simmonds, who has qualified for all four Grand Slam singles events up against Bulagarian Dia Evtimova. Australians Jess Moore and Viktorija Rajicic will also need to put on strong performances in their singles to give the Freighters an edge and keep Michelle Sammonds and Leah Daw from causing upsets.
Entry to the ATL finals is free and a BBQ and drinks will be available for purchase from 5pm.
For ATL fixtures please click here
For further information on the Asia-Pacific Tennis League please go to the ATL webpage