ASB Classic Tennis Finals for Old Collegian, Paige Hourigan
January 09, 2019 at 9:41 AM
After graduating from the College in 2014, tennis powerhouse, Paige Hourigan is creeping up the international rankings, with the biggest match of her career, so far, taking place in early January, having earned a place in the doubles finals at the ASB Classic in Auckland, with American partner, Taylor Townsend.
Following College, Paige went out on the professional circuit, playing predominantly in Australia and China before securing a full scholarship to Georgia Tech in Atlanta, where she combined her academic studies with her pursuit of tennis excellence.
In the intervening years, she has played in in numerous international tournaments, gaining experience and strengthening her game. As a senior, she made her WTA tour debut at the 2013 ASB Classic. Her first main draw win was in an ITF doubles match in Australia, in April 2014, and her first ITF final resulted in a doubles win in Antalya, Turkey, in June 2016. She first represented New Zealand in the Fed Cup in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, in 2017, winning two of her three singles matches.
In July 2018, Paige won her first singles title as a qualifier in Portugal. Returning to North America, she then went all the way to the semi-finals as a qualifier in an ITF tournament in Fort Worth, Texas. In December, she was runner-up to Valentina Ivanov in the singles at the New Zealand Tennis Championships, and won the doubles title with Erin Routliffe.
The start of 2019 saw her rise to a new level in doubles play when she and Taylor Townsend, upset the number 2 seeds, Sweden's Johanna Larsson and Kirsten Flipkens from Belgium, in the semi-final at Auckland’s ASB Classic. Paige and Taylor, who had never played together at a tournament before had the edge from the start. Paige was the first Kiwi in the final of a WTA doubles event since August 2014, when Marina Erakovic reached the decider in New Haven. Erakovic also reached the Classic final in 2011.
After a brilliant run through the field, unfortunately the wildcard combination fell at the last hurdle, losing to Eugenie Bouchard and Sofia Kenin 6-1, 1-6, 10-7.
As well as an amazing opportunity competitively, Paige also has had the chance to practise with US tennis legend and former World No 1, Venus Williams.
‘It was a really great week for me,’ said Hourigan. ‘Practising with Venus and being in her box really helped me. She gave me a few tips at the start of the week that I really tried to focus on and bring into my game. And having Taylor next to me, who is a really top player. It was really cool to have such guidance this week and I am going to take this into my year.’
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