Champ survives gripping tussle

SYDNEY’S Corey Gaal overcame a serious semi-final test against Albury’s Mark Shanahan on his way to taking out the Albury Easter Tennis Tournament.

ON A STRING: Mark Shanahan was far from disgraced in his semi-final loss to eventual winner Corey Gaal. Pictures: MARK JESSER

ON A STRING: Mark Shanahan was far from disgraced in his semi-final loss to eventual winner Corey Gaal. Pictures: MARK JESSER

While the No.1 seed was always in control of the final against David Abfalter winning 6-0 6-2, it was a different story against Shanahan in the morning.

Top seed Corey Gaal didn't drop a set on his way to glory in the Albury Easter Tennis Tournament.

Top seed Corey Gaal didn't drop a set on his way to glory in the Albury Easter Tennis Tournament.

Shanahan held a set point before fading to go down 7-6 6-3.

“He’s obviously a young guy who is capable of hitting every shot,” Shanahan said of the 19-year-old.

“He’s hard to play.

“He would go missing for a few games and then the better I played the better he would play.

“It was hard to read what was going on.

“He’s a good player and had fresher legs after I had a long game on Sunday.”

It was Gaal’s first tournament at the Albury Grasscourts since he played in the Margaret Court Cup as a 12-year-old.

Shanahan and Gaal went shot for shot in the opening set before the Border coach squandered a chance at 6-5 on Gaal’s serve.

“I hit a volley up over his head to the backhand side but he hit a jump smash behind him for a winner cross court,” he said.

Shanahan, a four-time winner of the tournament, spent three hours on court during his quarter-final before winning in three sets.

He trailed 4-0 in the deciding set.

In the women’s final, Adelaide’s Charlotte Kempenaers-Pocz won a hard-fought match against Canberra’s Sarina Kang 6-2 6-3.

The No.7 seed, who took 90 minutes to win the decider, defeated the number two, three and four seeds on her way to glory.

Albury came away with a win in the 12 and under girls singles with exciting prospect Ella Brown taking out the title.

She defeated No.1 seed Jane Haeusler 6-4 7-5 in a tight final.

The pair then combined to take out the 12 and under doubles final.

A record 340 entries were taken for this year’s tournament with the courts holding up well to the heavy traffic.