GEELONG teenager Ramona Mataruga says a first set tie-breaker win was the catalyst for her Warrnambool Lawn Tennis Club Open success.
Mataruga, 17, snared the women’s open crown from Royal South Yarra competitor and number one seed Gussie O’Sullivan in a three-set epic yesterday.
The pair battled the elements with the temperature soaring to the mid-30s.
In a lengthy final Mataruga prevailed, 7-6, 4-6, 6-2. A year 12 student at Geelong’s Sacred Heart College, she said the first set tie-breaker went to 7-5.
“Each point went for at least 30 balls,” she said. “We had a big break afterwards.
“I was happy I got the first set because it boosted me.”
The third seed dropped the second set but cruised home in the third and deciding set.
“I got to 4-2 and I thought I could do it and she started to make errors,” Mataruga said.
Mataruga, who has played in the Warrnambool tournament since she was 13, said the championship win was special.
“It was my second opportunity so I wanted to grab it,” she said. “I lost in the first round last year but the year before I lost in the final so I’ve been up and down.”
Mataruga said her singles win made up for other disappointing results at the three-day open.
“I was in the doubles and mixed but lost in the first round in both of them,” she said.
Warrnambool pair Danielle Higgins and Sophie Drake were among the 12-player women’s open field.
Both south-west entrants were bundled out in the final round.
Higgins lost 6-0, 6-1 to Stephanie MacFarlane and rising star Drake lost her opening round match to Stephanie Barnett, 6-2, 6-0.