IT was generation next versus the talented veteran. In the end, youth won out.
Andrew Whittington, a doubles quarter-finalist at this year’s Australian Open, proved too good for Andrew McLean, on the comeback trail from hip surgery, in Warrnambool Lawn Tennis Club’s March long weekend men’s open final yesterday.
Whittington, 20, showcased his power and penchant for an ace in the straight sets win, adding his name to the honour roll alongside McLean who won the event in 2005.
McLean, 44, tried gallantly to snare his second Warrnambool crown but only managed to win four games in the 6-2, 6-2 result.
Whittington, who played in the men’s doubles final with Jackson Clark, said his high ace count proved pivotal in the result.
“It was nice to be out there and I just played my game and enjoyed myself out there,” he said.
“I think I had a bit more power. He is a bit older than me so I have a bit more fresh legs.
“It was still a good match out there but I just think my power got over the top.”
Whittington, who played all four grand slams as a junior, wants to add to his Australian Open men’s doubles experience.
“We are going to play Wimbledon “qualies” for doubles so we’ll head over there in June or July and hopefully we can qualify for that and get some good results and hopefully we can get into the US Open as well,” he said.
Whittington made his intentions known in the opening game against McLean.
Down 0-30, the number one seed clawed his way back to break his more experienced opponent.
The Williamstown athlete won his first service game before McLean fought back from 0-30 to win making it 2-1.
Whittington sailed through the next three games to hold a commanding 5-1 lead.
McLean, a Royal South Yarra member, worked his way from 0-30 as he attempted to stall Whittington’s momentum in the seventh game.
He grabbed the advantage but Whittington’s class came to the fore, with the powerful right-hander producing a game-saving lob to the back of the court.
McLean rallied again and improved the ledger to trail 5-2. Whittington responded with an unblemished service game and sewed up the first set with an ace.
He raced to a 4-0 advantage in the second set after breaking McLean in the opening game.
Whittington’s forehand prowess down the line and strength had McLean on the back foot.
McLean fought back gallantly to take two games but Whittington celebrated the title win with an ace.
More than 750 tennis players competed in more 51 events, from open to under 11s, across the three-day tournament.