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2011 Optus 16’s Australian Championships December 2011

Eliza Long wins National Title

Eliza Long has won the Australian Under 16’s National title in a hard fought win against Brigette Beck 7-5 , 6-3 at Melbourne Park.

It has been an eventful two weeks for Eliza who also made the play-offs in last weeks National 18’s titles where she had the opportunity of playing against Ashleigh Barty this years junior Wimbledon winner.

Eliza (unseeded) had an impressive tournament this week registering a win in her first round against Alisa Jergui 6-2, 6-0.

In her second round match Eliza eliminated the number 8 seed Maree Teiwa Casey 7-5, 6-3. Eliza then played the number 1 seed Ebony Panoho for an astounding come-from-behind win of 3-6, 6-2, 6-1.

The confidence Eliza gained from this match saw her win against Sara Tomic in the semi final 7-6, 6-4, then played a brilliant match to take out the National title against Brigette Beck 7-5, 6-3.

Eliza displayed maturity beyond her years as she stayed positive and fought hard for every point. In observing the match, Eliza mixed depth speed and spin to keep her opponent guessing and out of rhythm. Eliza powered away late in the second set with some telling off forehands and backhand down the line winners.

This victory has now secured Eliza direct entry into The Australian Open Junior Championships to be played at Melbourne Park during the Australian Open.

Also congratulations to Kane Dewhurst as he has guided Eliza’s progress in Melbourne with squad training and private coaching.

It is an opportune time to mention my link with Kane. When Kane set up the Vida Tennis Academy, I made contact with him to arrange for him to come to Bendigo and train children involved in my coaching program. It has been through his passion for tennis that he, Vince Datolli and the team at Vida, share their knowledge of the game. Their experience and professionalism is so well respected. The link between the Bendigo Tennis Academy and Vida Tennis Academy has paved the way for Eliza and other players to develop their games.

It is very exciting to see a player like Eliza progress to become a national champion and to be a part of the success.

To Kane and Vince and the team at Vida thanks for all the support and for sharing your coaching expertise.

Eliza, congratulations on all your efforts and good luck for the future.

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