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TENNIS: Top seed upset in Challenger final

Unseeded American Michael Joyce scored an upset win in the final of the US$25,000 Gallagher International Challenger in Hamilton with a well thought-out victory over top seed Goichi Motomura of Japan.

The 27-year-old Joyce was forced to stage a comeback from a set down to eventually take the singles title 4-6 6-4 6-4 but not before Motomura had pushed him all the way.

The match started with a break of serve by each player and then a neck and neck battle until the 10th game, when Joyce was broken by double-faulting on the last point to give Motomura the first set win.

The second set began with a marathon first game, which saw Motomura losing his serve in the only break of serve of the set. The start of the third set was identical to the second, as Motomura started to try and force his shots a lot more and made more errors as Joyce remained consistent.

Motomura's serve which had been a big part of his straight set winning streak to get to the final was negated as his nine aces were nearly equaled by eight double faults and hitting uncharacteristic errors on vital points. It was the fifth runner-up finish in Challenger finals in the past year for Motomura.

Joyce takes away US$3600 dollars and 50 valuable ATP entry ranking points, which should take his ranking from just under 300 to around 220. Motomura's finalist cheque was US$2100 and his 35 ranking points will move him from 146 to around 130th in the world.

Joyce couldn't make it two titles in the one day, as he and his fellow American Jim Thomas were beaten in a tough doubles final by top seeds and top 100 players Neville Godwin of South Africa and Australian Michael Hill 7-6(4) 6-4.

It was the fifth Challenger doubles title in the last 12 months for Hill and the third for Godwin.

The best of the New Zealand players in the singles was wildcard entrant James Greenhalgh, who won through to the quarterfinals scoring the highest number of games against Motomura than anyone except Joyce.

Lee Radovanovich, the 17-year-old from Auckland, was the best performer in the doubles, teaming up with Peter Clarke of Australia to make the quarterfinals.

Radovanovich and Aucklanders Mark Thompson, Derek Burden and Adam McNeil all gained their first ATP Tour doubles entry points, while Greenhalgh and Radovanovich earnt their first singles points.

Singles Final Result
Michael Joyce(USA) bt 1-Goichi Motomura(JPN) 4/6 6/4 6/4
Doubles Final Result
1-Neville Godwin(RSA)/Michael Hill(AUS) bt 3-Michael Joyce(USA)/Jim Thomas(USA) 7/6(4) 6/4

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