Final to test youth vs experience

by admin

Any way you cut it, tomorrow’s Australian Open blue-ribbon women’s singles final will be a case of youth versus experience.

While there are still four players in contention for the coveted crown, and lucrative winner’s cheque that accompanies it, tonight’s semi-finals will see two of the sport’s rising stars square off against each other, while two seasoned hands will do battle in the opposite side of the draw.

NSW’s 18 year-old Ellen Ryan is one win away from securing passage to the $24,000 singles final, which will see the winner pocket a cool $16,000 and runner-up $8,000, after upstaging 2007 event winner Siti Zalina Ahmad, from Malaysia, in the quarter-final this afternoon, 21-16.

Ryan will square off in tonight’s semi against Australian Jackaroos squad member Samantha Shannahan, who ended the run of former Commonwealth Youth Games gold medallist Georgia White 21-16.

The other final combatant will also be decided in the 5.00pm semi-final at Club Helensvale, with three-time Western Australian state singles champion Noelene Abe and former Queensland state representative Maree Gibbs both on the cusp of the greatest ever achievement in their decorated careers.

The men’s singles has progressed to the quarter-finals stage, with some of the sport’s biggest names among the eight players still in the mix.

Helensvale’s Commonwealth Games gold medallist Mark Casey and five-time Australian Open finalist Barrie Lester are set on a collision course, while the other quarter-final in that half of the draw will feature 2010 NSW Open singles winner Carl Healey against Warilla warrior Aaron Teys, who claimed the scalp of his club-mate, three-time World Cup winner Jeremy Henry earlier in the knockout rounds.

Across in the other side of the draw, Broadbeach’s Canadian master blaster Ryan Bester will take on South Lismore’s Ben McCall, who is competing in his first Australian Open.

South Australia’s Nathan Pederson, who already made a name for himself this week when he helped his fellow state greenskeepers collect the men’s fours trophy, will look to continue his stellar run on the Gold Coast, against 2010 NSW Bowler of the Year Ray Pearse.

The men’s quarter-finals will be staged at 8.30am tomorrow at Broadbeach, while the Fox Sports live broadcast women singles will be staged from 11.00am, followed by the men’s pairs.

Entry and rink-side viewing is free of charge for the live broadcast finals at Broadbeach Bowls Club tomorrow and Thursday, with spectators encouraged to attend.

Caption: Samantha Shannahan, foreground, and Ellen Ryan, background, will go head-to-head for a spot in tomorrow’s final.