2006 main (* NEW *)

By Ian Hargraves, Liverpool Daily Post

An excellent Calderstones tennis tournament reached a fitting climax yesterday when Belgium’s top seeded Xavier Malisse beat Vin Spadea of the United Stated in the final of the men’s singles.

Malisse, who is ranked No 41 in the world, naturally started as slight favourite, but the highly experienced Spadea was always going to give him a fight.

The weather was far worse than the rest of the week, and postponed the start of the final for two hours and led to half an hour’s stoppage at a key moment in the second set.

At that moment, Malisse had just managed to click into his best form, after a poor start had cost him the first set 6-3. When play resumed, he succeeded in winning the second set 7-5.

It triggered off a final set super tie break that produced arguably the best tennis of the whole tournament and the Belgian won 14-12.

In Saturday’s semi-finals, Malisse beat Liverpool’s Ken Skupski by 6-4 6-1. Skupski, and most of the crowd, were naturally disappointed by his defeat, but he played pretty well against a man who reached the Wimbledon semi-finals.

Overall, the tournament has been a great success and the junior match between children in three age groups from Liverpool and Oslo attracted a lot of attention, as the Liverpudlians won by 31-21, Chloe Murphy winning all her five singles and doubles matches.

The introduction of a women’s event has been far and away the most important feature, especially because it was won by such a superb up-and-coming personality as 15-year-old Caroline Wozniacki.