Latest 5 Dec 2014

Strong Field Enters Pascoes NZ Championships

Strong Field Enters Pascoes NZ Championships

Seven of the top ten ranked NZ men have entered the Pascoes the Jewellers NZ Tennis Championships being held in Auckland from the 8-13 December making it the strongest field for many years.


Current champion Artem Sitak will be back to defend his title after a busy year where he found success on the doubles ATP tour, with his ranking moving from 114 to 62 in the world for doubles.  Sitak also won an ATP doubles title in Stuttgart, with Polish partner Mateus Kowalczy, as well as playing his first Grand Slam at the US Open reaching the second round.  


Sitak has become a regular on the double circuit with fellow Kiwi Marcus Daniell, who refer to themselves as “#teamkiwi". The pair have reached more than nine semi-finals or better on the ATP circuit, with a title in Granby, Canada.  Daniell has a current ATP ranking of 112 in doubles after starting the year at 411.  Sitak along with Michael Venus, Rubin Statham and Ben Mclachlan will be the likely top four seeds.


The NZ Championships men’s top seed will be Michael Venus, who is the top ranked Kiwi player and has a current ranking of 407 singles and 62 in the world in doubles. With the rise in his doubles ranking, Venus played all four Grand Slams in 2014, reaching the doubles third round at the Australian and US Open. He also reached the singles semi-finals of the Challenger singles in Guangzhou and second round of the Atlanta ATP event.  

After being sidelined with an injury for six months, Rubin Statham is back competing and will be hoping to capture a third NZ Championship title, having taken out the title in 2008 and 2011.  Statham was a member of the NZ Davis Cup team who beat Chinese Taipei in October, and reached the final of last week’s US$15,000 Futures event in Wollongong.


Queenstown's Ben Mclachlan graduated in May from Cal Berkley and is currently ranked number 897 in the world. Just last week won the doubles title with American partner Justin Shane, and reached the final of the singles, going down to Frenchman Theo Fournerie.


Fellow college players Finn Tearney and Adam Lee will also be players to watch in the draw, along with former world pro Wesley Whitehouse who has been ranked as high as 214 in the world, former NCAA finalist Austen Childs and 18 year old North Shore’s Alex Kintcharov who has recently started playing on the ITF Men’s Circuit.  Klintcharov reached 67 in the world in juniors.


Along with capturing the national title, an additional incentive for the players is that the men’s singles, doubles and women’s doubles winners will earn a main draw wildcard into the Heineken Open and ASB Classic respectively.  The women’s singles winner gains a qualifying wildcard into the ASB Classic. The NZ Championships are part of the New Zealand Festival of Tennis, which also includes the ASB Classic, Heineken Open and Wither Hills West End Cup.


With the absence of Marina Erakovic who will be in Europe in December, defending champion Sacha Jones and Katherine Westbury have secured the top two seeded positions in the women’s field.

Twenty-one year old Westbury is currently ranked 797 and reached 104 in the world in juniors.  Former pro Sacha Jones has reached as high as 150 in the world for singles and has won the Pascoes NZ Tennis Championships three times, 2007, 2011 and 2013.


College player Abbey Guthrie and 16 year old North Shore’s Rosie Cheng make up the top four in the women’s field.  Guthrie has won the doubles title in the last two consecutive years with Emma Hayman.  Guthrie will be looking for a new doubles partner this year with Hayman now residing in Australia and will hope to make it three from three.  Cheng is the top ranked junior in New Zealand and has a current junior world ranking of 199.   


Other players in the field to watch are Waikato’s Luci Barlow, Auckland’s Brittany Teei, Sarah McDermott, Wellington’s Makere Bradnam and juniors Kelly Drew and Ashleigh Harvey.


The semi-finals and finals will be screened live on Sky from the ASB Tennis Arena with the quarterfinals and earlier rounds held at Albany Tennis Park.


Tickets are available at the gate for the last two days at ASB Tennis Arena. 


Friday 12 December
ASB Tennis Arena, 1 Tennis Lane, Parnell, Auckland
Starting from 3pm
Singles Semi-finals & Women’s Doubles Final


Saturday 13 December
ASB Tennis Arena, 1 Tennis Lane, Parnell, Auckland
Starting from 5pm
Singles Finals & Men’s Doubles Final


Tickets $5 per day
18 u free admission


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