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Kubler takes crown in Realway Bundaberg Tennis Open

Bundaberg Tennis
Jason Kubler hits out on his way to victory in the Realway Bundaberg Open Men’s Singles tennis grand final against Calum Puttergill

Eight years after losing the grand final of the event to James Duckworth, top seed and former World No. 91 Jason Kubler, of Brisbane, claimed the 2021 Realway Bundaberg Tennis Open AMT Men’s Singles crown at the expense of Calum Puttergill at Drinan Park on Monday.

The 27-year-old booked his place in the play-off with a 6-2, 6-4 semi-final victory over Tai Leonard Sach earlier in the morning, 6-2, 6-4, and he won the first set of the decider 6-4 before Calum was unfortunately forced to retire due to a painful elbow injury.

No. 2 Calum had played the longest game of his life in his semi, a slog-athon which lasted for over four hours, before advancing against a valiant third seed Will Maher 7-5, 6-7 (4), 7-5, but he overcame fatigue to serve it up to Jason in the final just 90 minutes later.

Former World Junior No. 1 Jason said he had expected Calum’s semi may have come against him in the final, but “after the first few points”, he “knew (he) was in for a battle”, and it was disappointing for both of them that the match ended as it did.

Jason said it was “the perfect preparation” for him as he gets set for an overseas tour, starting with a Tournament in Italy on May 17.

Calum, of Noosa, also 27, said he had been coming to Bundaberg for tournaments since the age of nine, and Jason said they had been competing against each other for the past 17 years.

Meanwhile, AMT Women’s Singles No. 1 Alexandra Bozovic also triumphed, defeating second seed Megan Smith 6-2, 6-1 in the final after also not dropping a set over the three days.

Bundaberg Tennis
Bundaberg Tennis: Alexandra Bozovic stretches for a backhand shot against Megan Smith in the Women’s Singles grand final

Alexandra said she knew it “would be tough” coming up against Megan, but after an evenly contested first few sets, she got on top and stamped her authority.

The 22-year-old also combined with Jessica Fowler to take out the Women’s Doubles with a 6-2, 6-2 win over Georgia Townsend and Emma Westman.

Bundaberg’s Chris Rae, who was making a comeback to tournament play at the age of 42 after an 18-year absence, did well to reach the Men’s Singles Qualification Consolation final, and he won the first set against teenager Ben Butler, but the longer the match went on, age wearied him, and Ben surged to the title 4-6, 6-2, 10-1 after Chris had accounted for Liam O’Neil 4-6, 7-5, 10-7 in the semis.

Bundaberg Tennis
Bundaberg Tennnis: Chris Rae grimaces as he plays a shot in the Men’s Qualification Consolation grand final

Despite missing out on a title, Chris was very pleased with what he achieved.

“My body was totally cooked halfway into the second set, but I finished the match out. I didn't think I would play 5 singles and 2 doubles matches this weekend but somehow, I pushed through one at a time. My matches improved each match and was super grateful I got to play to the end on finals day,” Chris said.

Calum and his brother Liam also qualified for the Men’s Doubles final but they also had to withdraw from that match, handing the title to Louis Clark and Winter Meagher, who had beaten top seeds Will Maher and Sam Ryan-Ziegann 7-5 1-6, 12-10 in the semi-finals.

Bundaberg’s Kelvin Steinberger, 36, took out the Men’s Special Singles, winning each of his three matches and dropping just eight sets in the process, and he also partnered Jeremy Wieden to the Men’s Special Doubles gong.

Sam Ryan-Ziegann picked up the Men’s Singles Consolation with a 6-4, 7-6 (6), 10-7 dispatch of Sean Pacey, while Ava Edmonds downed Dilana Rsovac 6-3, 6-3 in the Women’s Singles Consolation.

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