Experience makes it a Matt finish

By BRAD GREENSHIELDS

ACCORDING to the rankings it may have been an upset but Camden's Matt Mullane believed that it was simply a matter of experience prevailing over youth in the Men's Open final of the McDonalds Northern NSW Open Junior tournament at Westside.

Playing against top seed Nick Hew, Mullane proved too consistent to create a comfortable straight sets victory 6-3, 6-2.

Considering that early in the first set Mullane found himself down a break and trailing 3-1, the Sydney Lawn member stuck to his guns to win 11 of the next 13 games to grab the title for the second successive year.

To sum the final up, Mullane was able to hang tough during the periods when Hew displayed his obvious natural talent and cashed in when his opponent wasn't on song.

For the 28-year-old Sydneysider, that was exactly how he expected the match to pan out.

"I knew the he'd be patchy and be a bit hit and miss and have periods where he'd come good for a couple of games," the victor explained. "It was my plan to just keep it steady and play at probably 90 per cent but keep pushing at that level all day.

"I know that I can maintain a high level of intensity all day whereas the younger guys are a bit erratic."

Being the elder statesman of the draw also created an advantage that gave Mullane plenty of confidence as the tournament progressed.

"A lot of these guys are just starting so this is a big occasion for them but for me it's just a day out in the country having a whack around in the dirt in front of about 50 to 100 people," he said. "I might have retired from the serious stuff now but I've had the experience overseas that these kids haven't."

Mullane will be back next year to try for a hat-trick of titles as well as trying to improve on his unlucky semi-final loss in this year's Seaside Open.



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