HOMEGROWN tennis ace Mike Tolman retained his Huddersfield Open Men’s singles title when the 87th Sellers International sponsored tournament reached a crescendo on Saturday.
Earlier in the week the Flockton-based 24-year-old had cheekily claimed, “It’s in the bag,” when asked of his prospects at this year’s event – and he didn’t disappoint.
It was a great effort by Tolman, whose tennis is limited now after working full time for sport firm Converse, as the fourth seed turned back to the clock with a 6-2 6-4 victory against Shipley-based Hassan Abbas, to add a third crown after his first success back in 2003.
And in the Ladies’ final, Bradley-based Nicole Peterson, seeded second, stunned top seed Samantha Murray by taking the first set 6-3, but the 20-year-old reasserted her authority and showed why she has earned her 1.2 rating, to win the next two sets 6-0 6-2 and claim her first Ladies’ singles title at Huddersfield.
The start of the senior finals were delayed with both Tolman and Murray contesting the mixed pairs final in the indoor courts which went to three sets, and Murray took her first title of the day when, partnered by brother Peter, they beat Tolman and Caroline Mount 5-7 6-3 7-5.
Tricky swirling wind conditions seemed to affect Murray early on in her showpiece final, played concurrently with the Mens’, but great credit goes to Peterson who, at only 15 years of age, could have a great future in the game as she demonstrated great hitting, which was both accurate and powerful, to unsettle Murray.
But the Altrincham-based player, who is midway through a four-year tennis scholarship in Illinois, gained her composure to win through.
And, after earlier clinching the mixed doubles with brother Peter, she achieved a hat trick of titles in one day when she won the Ladies’ doubles with sister Amanda, 16, after a 7-5 6-3 victory against Megan O’Sullivan and Emily Singleton.
Men’s champion Tolman, also enjoyed further success when, partnered by Thongsbridge Tennis Club coach Tom Sanders, they lived up their top seed billing with a 6-3 7-6 victory against Nathan Jones and Sean Stafford 6-3 7-6 in the Men’s doubles final.
But against Abbas, who has just completed the first year of a four-year tennis scholarship in Ventura, California, Tolman was always in control.
His heavy slice proved a devastating weapon and timely interceptions at the net left Abbas, who has been playing at the Huddersfield tournament since 1997, with no answers as too many unforced errors also crept into this game.
Tolman said: “I played quite well and he seemed to struggle against my slice so I piled it on some more.
“It’s brilliant to win a third title, and next year I’ll be aiming for a fourth and I want that three-in-row hat trick.”