Brandon Daly-Walkin captured his first grass court tournament by winning the 2019 Margaret Court men’s singles at Albury on Tuesday.
The 24-year-old Brisbane export produced a 6-3, 6-4 victory against top seed Rhys Searant – coming from a break down in the second set.
Daly-Walkin admitted he rode his luck at times but was thrilled with the result.
“It’s my first tournament on grass in probably two or three years,” he said.
“I’ve played a couple of Futures (events) on grass, but haven’t fared too well.
“I think I’d only won one match previously on this surface.
“It’s my first time coming to Albury and I think it suits my game quite well, so I’m stoked.
“I had one of my worst losses on grass back in 2014 and I played it again in a Future and managed to win a round, but it was scrappy.
“This is a smaller tournament, so I was glad to sink my teeth in and go all the way.”
With no events available in Queensland and in desperate need of ranking points, Daly-Walkin came to the Border with some pressure to perform.
“I’ve had a lot of time off tennis lately and my coach said there’s some tournaments down near Melbourne I should play, so here I am,” he said.
“It was a good decision in the end.
“He said I had to win them or don’t come home (laughs), so I’ve won one and got one to go.”
The champion admitted the most difficult aspect on grass is finding a rhythm.
“You basically have to constantly reset,” he said.
“You’ll get up 0-30 and they’ll hit two good serves and you lose the game.
“I just tried to stay calm and composed and make as many first serves as I could.
“The surface does so much for you, so every first serve helps.”
Incredibly, the pair will meet in the opening round of the Victorian Junior Grasscourt Championships, starting on Wednesday at Wodonga Tennis Centre.
“I’ve got a protected professional ranking, but I haven’t currently got an Australian ranking,” Daly-Walkin said.
“He’s seeded one at the next tournament and I don’t have any points yet.
“I saw the draw and it was very possible I could play him in the final and again the day after.”
Canberra product Sarina Kang proved too strong for Adelaide’s Andrea Kristo in the women’s singles decider – prevailing 6-3, 6-1, while South Africa’s Natalie and Fiona Grandin won the women’s doubles 6-3, 6-0, against Jessie Burbridge and Katelyn Kissack.
Albury’s Jade Culph and partner Lachlan Hewitt were eliminated in the semi-finals of the men’s doubles by Wesley Neylon and Jarryd Wildsmith, 6-2, 7-6.
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