Byers powers to first Otago senior title

It seems unlikely Charlie Byers’ first title will be her last.

Rising local Byers (16) won her maiden senior women’s title at the Otago Indoor Open at the weekend.

Playing against Otago teammate Ayesha Horley in the final, Byers’ groundstroke game was too much to handle as she powered to a 6-2, 6-1 victory.

It continued a good run for Byers, who won the doubles title at the under-16 indoor national tournament earlier this month.

Earlier in the women’s draw, Horley had to battle through the craft of Oamaru’s Belinda Hirst.

In one of the matches of the tournament, Horley won 6-2, 6-7, 6-3.

On the men’s side of the draw, Auckland-based coach Ryan Eggers, formerly of Otago, ground his way to the singles title.

Playing against Wellingtonian Thomas Dai, who is studying in Dunedin, Eggers was at the mercy of Dai’s crunching backhands, the former winning the first set 6-4.

However, momentum started to swing as Eggers found his consistency early in the second set.

After many lengthy exchanges, Eggers ran away in the second and third sets, winning them 6-2, 6-1. The win gave Eggers an open trophy for the first time since 2018, having gone 0-9 in finals since his victory at the Southland Open.

Both Eggers and Dai had to get through tough semifinal matches against Tim Willans (Southland) and Ben Smith (Canterbury) respectively.

Willans’ clean ball striking was putting Eggers under immense pressure, as the latter fended off a set point in the first set. However, Eggers’ consistency pulled him through, winning 7-6, 6-4.

The match-up between Dai and Smith was a close encounter, the former edging it 7-5, 6-4.

In the women’s doubles, Horley joined forces with Jessie Stevenson to take on Hirst and Angela Fitzgerald in the final.

In a seesaw affair, Hirst and Fitzgerald raced out to a 6-1 lead. As the match wore on, Horley and Stevenson were able to find their groove, claiming the second set and match tiebreak 6-4, 10-8.

For the men’s doubles, Thomas Hartono and Paddy Ou clinched a close match against Eggers and Gavin Mockford 6-4, 5-7, 10-7. With very little separating the teams, Hartono hit some clutch serves to seal victory.

Earlier, Eggers and Mockford sneaked through against the big-serving duo of Jack Warner and Mat Mccutcheon 6-7, 6-1, 10-8.

– By Paddy Ou

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