Two New Zealand players have secured places in the women’s semifinals at the ASB Pro Circuit in Hamilton and both have good opportunities to make the finals. Auckland’s Kairangi Vano and Canterbury’s Ellen Barry will still need to win their semifinal matches if they are to clash in the final, but if they can keep their good form, an all-Kiwi clash for the title could be on the cards.
Vano easily powered past Japan’s Minori Takemoto 6-4 6-2 and will now play surprise semifinalist, Anna Wishink of Australia, a qualifier who dispatched Japan’s Maki Arai 6-1 6-2 in her quarter-final.
Barry had a straightforward 6-4 6-4 victory over Australian, Cassandra Chan after playing a solid all-round game for the win. She will face sixth seed Kyung-Yee Chae (Korea) for a place in the final of the US$10,000 draw. Chae upset top seed Michaela Johansson of Sweden 6-2 6-3. Chae is ranked at 558 while Barry is at 419 and will need her powerful forehand to be on song if she is to win.
The semifinals of the men’s US$15,000 draw features three Australians and one Korean after Kiwi No2 Rubin Statham fell in the quarters to third seed Andrew Coelho of Australia 6-3 6-2.
The loss ended a successful run for Statham, 20 who reached the semis of the Wellington event of the ASB Pro Circuit and the quarters of a Futures event in Thailand the previous event.
Statham should still see his current ATP ranking of 550 improve closer to breaking the top 500 as a result of his recent performances.
In other men’s singles matches top seed and winner of last weeks’ tournament in Wellington, Colin Ebelthite (Australia) was beaten by countryman Bryden Klein in a hard-hitting three set battle while second seed Rameez Junaid lost to Korean qualifier Young-Jun Kim who was ranked as high as 302 four years ago.
Favourite for the title now goes to former top doubles player Nathan Healey (Australia), 28 who has already been in two Futures finals this year. Healey defeated fifth seeded Australian Rapheal Durek 7-6(4) 6-3.
Women’s singles quarter-finals:
(Q)Anna Wishink(AUS) bt Maki Arai(JPN) 6-1 6-2, (6)Kyung-Yee Chae(KOR) bt (1)Michaela Johansson(SWE) 6-2 6-3, (3)Ellen Barry(NZL) bt Cassandra Chan(AUS) 6-4 6-4, (WC)Kairangi Vano(NZL) bt Minori Takemoto(JPN) 6-4 6-2.
Men’s singles quarter-finals:
(7)Brydan Klein(AUS) bt(1)Colin Ebelthite(AUS) 3-6 7-6(1) 6-3, (3)Andrew Coelho(AUS) bt (8)Rubin Statham(NZL) 6-3 6-2, (4)Nathan Healey(AUS) bt (5)Raphael Durek(AUS) 7-6(4) 6-3, (Q)Young-Jun Kim(KOR) bt (2)Rameez Junaid(AUS) 6-4 6-4.