FRIENDS and Barwon teammates Adam Lasky and Matt Hicks remain on target to play off for the men’s open singles title at the Victorian Country Inter-Regional Tennis Championships at Creswick.
The top two seeds, who each had byes in the first round, cruised through their opening matches at the Mt Prospect complex.
No.1 seed Lasky accounted for the South West’s Jake Dunn 6-3 6-3 to progress to today’s quarter finals in the three-day tournament.
Dunn had earlier defeated Jamie Brown (Loddon Campaspe) 6-3 6-1 in round one to set up a clash with the Geelong 18-year-old.
Second seed Hicks, 20, defeated the Wimmera’s Stuart McRae 6-2 6-3.
Seeded 117 in Australia, Lasky now faces Jarrod Bingham (Goulburn), while Jay Debernardi (Mornington) will be Hick’s quarter final opponent.
Lasky said he enjoyed having the opportunity to represent his home region – something he had been doing for “five or six” years.
“There’s something about playing in a team environment.”
He said the inter-regional format also provided an opportunity to help out juniors, just as he had experienced rising through the ranks.
Lasky and Hicks are key players in Barwon’s plans to continue its domination of the championships.
Barwon is attempting to win its 11th title in 12 years, having won five times in a row before Glenelg ended its run in 2008 and then triumphing in the past five years.
The Central Highlands’ Blair Hart and Greg Parry lowered his colours in second round encounters yesterday.
Blair lost to Steve Giamarcco 6-2 6-7 12-10 in a tight match.
Luke Dixon (Goulburn) out-gunned Parry 6-1 6-2.
Tournament director Andrew Reynolds, of Tennis Victoria, said the event had had a perfect start, with the courts in great condition and weather ideal.
He said after having to cope with the effects of a heatwave in Swan Hill last year, the milder start to the day had allowed players to ease into competition.
With 260 players taking part, Reynolds estimated an influx of up to 1000 people would inject in the vicinity of $1.5 million into the Ballarat and Creswick district economy.
A special feature of the opening day was a visit by the Australian Open tour, with the men’s and women’s singles trophies on display.
Tennis Australia hall of fame member Judy Dalton and Ballarat tennis legend Peter Keller were also guest speakers a special dinner at the Mt Prospect Tennis Association last night.