A STRING of long matches proved a winning formula yesterday for Kooyong teenager Mitch Burman in the Warrnambool Lawn Tennis Club Open men’s final.
Burman, 18, toppled reigning champion and Kooyong clubmate Daniel Byrnes in tough open men’s decider, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4.
The Carisbrook-raised number four seed said while he was disappointed to drop the second set, he relished the chance to test himself against a more experienced competitor in the deciding set of a tournament final.
“I was a bit worried but confident at the same time. I have had a lot of long matches here,” Burman said.
“I had gone through to the third set in the last three rounds and I was ready for it in that way but I was getting a bit tired after all the matches and was hoping I could just get myself to the end of that set and get over the line.”
The third set was tight, with each player holding their serve.
At 4-4 the teenager had Byrnes, 28, on the ropes at 40-0 before the reigning champion, who was seeded third, pegged it back and forced the game to deuce twice.
Burman held strong and then broke Byrnes’ serve to lead 5-4.
The regular Warrnambool visitor pushed nerves aside to serve for the title.
Burman said breaking Byrnes’ serve tipped momentum his way.
“It came as a little bit of a shock I’d say,” he said.
“In the first set I returned well and broke him twice in a row and won four games in a row and was feeling pretty good and in the second set I couldn’t even touch him, I wasn’t even close to breaking his serve.
“And it was the same in that third set until that one game.”
In hot conditions, Burman took the first game of the match before Byrnes edged away to a 3-1 lead.
Burman found his composure and clawed back to 3-all before racing away win the first set.
Byrnes rectified his service games in the second set.
The set was tied at 4-all before the experienced Byrnes, who was managing an ongoing elbow injury, held out his younger opponent.
Burman said the win highlighted his improvement over the past 12 months.
“I first really met Daniel down here last year. I lost to him in the quarter-finals and since then I have seen him at the club and played a few comps and even been hitting with him for a little bit,” he said.
“I love coming to a tournament like this. It sort of reminds me of home, the lawn courts.”
Burman, a Melbourne-based university student, said he had earmarked 2013 as a big tennis year.
“I am working with Paul McNamee and hopefully looking to travel a lot to Europe in the second half of the year and play a lot of Futures (tournaments),” he said.
“I am flying out to Ipswich on Thursday for a Futures up there and then I will settle down for a couple of months at uni and do a lot of training in preparation for Europe.”
Three of Warrnambool’s seven open men’s competitors made it past the opening round. Matt Moloney, Wesley Isles and Jake Dunn all dropped their second matches.
Moloney and Isles played Burman and Byrnes respectively in round two.