Josh conquers mate

January 05, 2018

Cross-court: Echuca's Erik Holt-Crossman in action during his men's singles final loss.

Bright future: Josh Charlton claimed the men's singles title at the Goulburn Valley AMT Championships.

Josh Charlton needed more than just his athletic ability to secure victory yesterday.

The Traralgon product claimed the Goulburn Valley AMT Championships men’s singles title in sweltering conditions against Echuca’s Erik Holt-Crossman after a super tiebreak set.

But it was Charlton’s mental strength that shone through in the 6-4, 2-6, 10-4 triumph, with Holt-Crossman threatening to blow the match wide open after engineering a 5-0 run in the second set.

‘‘It was definitely a hard slog, I know Erik quite well he’s a good mate of mine and obviously I know his level and he was playing some great tennis out there,’’ Charlton said.

‘‘Obviously I got the first in a tight one 6-4 and then Erik started playing the game he’s capable of playing, big serve, big forehand and an all-round really good game.

‘‘Then I just had to reset going into the third set tiebreak and fortunately I was able to do that.’’

Charlton, 18, managed to wrestle the ascendancy back with some great defensive gets and won two of the last three games in the second set to stem the bleeding.

It allowed him to play with confidence in the tiebreak, streaking ahead to a 5-0 lead before holding on for a 10-4 win.

‘‘Erik had the momentum, so I knew if I could just settle it down a bit, mix up the pace a bit more and take away the pace from him as well, (it would turn),’’ Charlton said.

‘‘I thought I did that quite well and I was able to change the momentum and get the win in the end.’’

The match was certainly worthy of a final, with the top two seeds going toe-to-toe from the baseline for much of the contest.

Charlton’s billing as the number one seed proved correct in the end, but it was not something that worried him during the tournament — dropping just two sets of 10 in regulation and finding success in both super tiebreaks he played.

‘‘There’s always that expectation having the number one next to your name that you sort of have to win the tournament, but it’s also sort of good because you earn that spot as well and it’s good to come in knowing that you’re sort of favourite to win I guess,’’ he said.

The summer of tennis is just beginning for the rising star, but for now he will reflect on a great week in Shepparton.

‘‘I’d like to thank the Shepp (Lawn) Tennis Club for hosting a great event once again,’’ Charlton said.

‘‘It’s always great coming down here, the weather’s always the best and it’s tough as well with the conditions, I’m not used to the heat, but I guess you adapt over the first couple of days and if you get through them, then I guess you can dig in.

‘‘I’ll go back to Melbourne and play another money tournament there and then I’ll put in a good training block ahead of the Aussie Futures, which is I guess the lowest level professional tournament, and hopefully get some good results in them and try to build my professional career from there.’’

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