Two national trophies for Byers

Charlie Byers displays the trophies she won at the national indoor age-grade championships at...
Charlie Byers displays the trophies she won at the national indoor age-grade championships at Wilding Park in Christchurch last weekend. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH
Silverware at the national level is rare for Dunedin players but Charlie Byers won two trophies in as many days.

Byers (14), a year 9 pupil at St Hilda’s Collegiate, fell just short in the singles but came through in the doubles at the national indoor age-grade championships at Wilding Park in Christchurch.

She finished runner-up in the 14 and under grade, going down to Ruby Young, of Canterbury.

However, she went one better in the doubles, pairing with Canterbury's Emma Mason to take home the silverware.

The tournament is nationally ranked and is second only to the New Zealand junior championships on the national tournament calendar.

The 14 and under grade was postponed last month due to Covid-19 restrictions concerning gatherings.

Byers had few expectations and was faced with a tough draw, including a prospective quarterfinal against friend and fellow Dunedin junior Mya Haigh.

She came through that challenge in a tight match and toppled her doubles partner in the semis, setting up a final against Young.

"We both went for it in the final and we both like to play a power game. Against Ruby, who's a good friend of mine, I found my shots were coming back with interest, but neither of us was going to back off."

Young won the match 6-2, 6-4 but it was only a short turnaround for the doubles final later on Monday.

"Emma and I were unseeded in the doubles, so we were surprised to find ourselves in the final."

Playing Katie Oliver and Audrey Newman, both of Auckland, Byers and Mason prevailed 7-6, 6-3 in an entertaining battle.

Byers said the tournament was a great experience.

She paid tribute to her coach, Simon Body, and to Tennis Otago and the Skeggs Foundation for their support.

Byers will line up in this weekend’s Otago Indoor Open at the Edgar Centre, where she will have to make it through qualifying to secure a place in the main draw.

The tournament begins on Friday afternoon with finals played on Sunday.

Fraser Richardson

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