She's a sweet-smiling youngster, who is starting to give higher ranked Southland tennis players a bit of a fright and plenty to think about.
She's Harriett Cuttance, a 10-year-old from Gore, who in recent weeks has produced some of the best tennis of her burgeoning career.
Cuttance upset seedings to make the girls 10 years singles final of the Queenstown junior open before losing to favourite and fellow Southland player Emma White in straight sets. But Cuttance lifted the ante even further at the recent Invercargill satellite tournament at the Waihopai courts, losing a thrilling girls 10 years singles final against the much more experienced Claudia Smith.
Top seed Smith showed real grit and class to survive a match point to win in a tiebreaker 9-8. Still, it was a top effort by Cuttance, who overcame second-seeded White 9-8 in the semifinal and who is starting to develop the belief to match the ability many have known she has possessed for some time.
Claudia Smith's win was part of a special tournament trifecta for the family, with older sisters Ella and Zoe winning the girls 12 and 14 years singles titles respectively.
Ella had the toughest assignment, beating Holly Munro in a nerve-racking final, 4-6, 6-3 and 14-12, in the super tiebreaker decider.
Other winners at the Invercargill event were: Harry Clark (8s boys), Finn Holden (10s boys), Ben Clixby (12s boys), Caleb Stevenson (14s boys) and Joshua Cochrane (16s boys).
- Invercargill Eye