A tennis player serving

Tennis heats up on day five as medal contenders emerge

cropped 004A7289 | June 16, 2024
Solomon Islands beat PNG in the women’s doubles on Friday. Photos: Rhianto Manuga, Pacific Games News Service

As the Sol2023 Pacific Games tennis singles, doubles and mixed doubles draws started to unravel at the National Tennis Centre on Friday, the anticipation surrounding who will make medal playoffs intensifies.

Amidst the emerging signs of potential contenders for the women’s singles, two names loom large over the competition: Papua New Guinea’s Abigail Tere-Apisah and Samoa’s Annerly Georgopoulous.

Tere-Apisah, a seasoned athlete from Papua New Guinea and the Samoa 2019 singles and teams’ gold medalist, said: “To be honest, I don’t really put any pressure on myself. I’m just aiming to work hard and do my best. I haven’t really participated in many tournaments in the lead-up to this Pacific Games. I’ve had a baby now and haven’t been training as I used to.”

When asked who she believed would pose the biggest threat, she said: “I think Samoa will be challenging, especially Annerley.”

Apisah, who has already bagged bronze in the tennis teams competition last week, is mentoring a young Papua New Guinean team at this year’s Games.

“Right now, I’m also helping to train and mentor the young players in our team, and hopefully build their experience,” she revealed.

Georgopoulous, who is competing for the first time in the Pacific Games, breezed past Tahiti’s Tavero Chung (6-2, 6-1). She said: “l feel really honoured to be representing my country and especially being here in Solomon Islands, it’s a new place for me and getting to know the country and the culture is an experience in itself.”

When asked about her upcoming challenges, she said: “I have always known that Abigail is the strongest player here, given her amazing career history and being in the WTA (Women’s Tennis Association) top 200. She has experience, and she still has it in her. I have a lot of respect for her, and when we meet, it’s just going to be one of those matches where I will just have to figure it out.” 

In some other notable women’s singles matches today, Tahiti’s Mehitia Boosie beat Fiji’s Josephie Debalevu (6-3, 6-1), Tonga’s Ela I Puleni Vakaukamea defeated Tuvalu’s Sanapu Tepa Tealei (2-6, 6-2, 6-3), Fiji’s Ruby Coffin overcame Solomon Islands’ Philia Kerry Waita (6-2, 6-2) and Guam’s Freemont Gibson comfortably beat Papua New Guinea’s Namet Sanewai (6-1, 6-0).

In the women’s doubles, some notable wins came from Solomon Islands beating Papua New Guinea (6-1, 6-2) and Tonga defeating Tahiti (6-0, 6-2).

Shifting to the men’s singles, Guam’s Camden Camacho defeated Northern Mariana Islands’ Colin Nyle Ramsey (6-1, 6-3), Fiji’s Charles Cornish overcame Tonga’s Teufolau Huni (6-2 6-0)  and New Caledonia’s Nell Rollin overcame Guam’s Mason Caldwell (6-3 6-4).

In the men’s doubles, a strong Guam side defeated Vanuatu (6-1, 6-3), Cook Islands beat Fiji in a thriller (3-6, 6-3, 13-11) and Solomon Islands proved too strong for Nauru (6-1, 6-4).

Expect further intense hit outs at the National Tennis Centre on Saturday from 9am with more action across the singles and doubles events.

By Lamantha Lano and Aaron Ballekom, Pacific Games News Service

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