THE marquee Warrnambool Lawn Tennis Club Open starts this afternoon after a bumper number of entries forced organisers to expand the traditional three-day event to four.
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Players in the men’s open draw will battle in qualifiers in preparation for the following three days of action.

More than 750 entries have rolled in for the annual Labour Day weekend tournament, the biggest on the Warrnambool club’s calendar.

Event director Don Higgins said players were coming from across the state, with significant contingents visiting from Melbourne, Geelong, Gippsland and Stawell.

Higgins said the influx of entries had made for tough logistical preparation but promised great competition.

“Numbers are well up on last year,” he said.

“There’s an awful lot of work we’ve got to do. It’s been a little bit difficult.”

Geelong’s Matthew Hicks is the number one seed in the men’s open grade, while Bairnsdale’s Maddie Barnett headlines the women’s draw.

A massive 51 events will be contested, from the open to veterans and presidents and A, B, C and D grades. The junior categories feature under 11s through to under 18s.

As the competition is listed as an Australian Money Tournament, player will be fighting for points towards national rankings. Higgins said the Pertobe Road venue was ready for the incoming foot traffic.

“The courts are looking really good,” he said. Action starts from 8.30am tomorrow and finals will be played about noon on Monday.

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