Bird wins u-16 girls singles and doubles in Fiji Open
BY ROMULUS HUTA
YOUNG female Solomon Islands tennis player Prudence Bird has snatched a double victory at the Fiji Tennis Open.
The 2018 Fiji Open Tennis Championships held at the Denerau Golf and Racquet in Nadi began on Wednesday and ended with the presentations yesterday afternoon.
A total of nine Solomon Islands tennis players took part in the event alongside Ms Bird.
Others are Junior Benjamin, Graham Mani, Selwyn Lam, Doreen Ningalo, Lachlan Guba, Zorika Morgan, Jermain Kari and Popai Leong.
Ms Bird wrapped up her Fiji Open campaign in style and headlined Solomon Islands participation at the event after coming out victorious in the under-16 singles and the doubles competitions.
In the singles, Ms Bird, competing as a fourth seed, defeated number two seed Penina Kamu of Samoa by two straight sets of 6-1, 6-4 in the grand final. In the doubles, she paired up with Cameron Goss of Australia to win first place. The duo defeated Conatsu Kaga (Northern Mariana Islands) and Chelsea McGrath (Australia) winning by 9-4 in a single set.
Apart from Ms Bird’s double achievement, impressive results have also emerged from the other participating Solomon Islanders in the singles.
In the A men’s singles, Mani and Leong finished second and third respectively behind Victor Lopes of Vanuatu, who topped this category.
Lopes defeated Mani by 7-6 (4), 7-5 in a tough grand final encounter.
On the other court, Morgan was a contender in the women’s A division singles but finished third behind Samoan Eleanor Schuster and Florence Wasko of American Samoa, respectively.
In the Under-16 boys singles, Guba wrapped up his singles campaign in the fourth place.
The doubles competition also saw good results from the national representatives.
Junior and Mani paired up together in the open men’s doubles and managed to finish second.
The duo came up against a better Samoan opponent in the form of Matavao Fanguna and Leon Soonalole in the grand final and lost by two straight sets 6-2 and 6-1.
A fair result was achieved by Leong in the A men’s doubles as he partnered with Vitikaras Taufao of Samoa to finish fourth.
Guba and partner Jones George of Federated States of Micronesia finished second in the under-16 boys doubles after losing 6-4, 6-2 to Zachary Sands of Vanuatu and Charles Cornish of Fiji in the grandfinal.
In the final action of the day, Doreen Ningalo teamed up with Sela Corbett of Australia in the open women’s doubles and finished at third place, wrapping off a fair and a satisfactory campaign for Solomon Islanders in the Fiji Open.
Meanwhile, the participation in the Fiji Open was a perfect warm-up ahead of the Oceania Tennis Nations Cup which will get underway this week.
A team of six – three men and three women will represent Solomon Islands in the one-week tournament which will be held at Lautoka starting this Thursday.
Similar faces will represent Solomon Islands and they include Benjamin Joel Junior, Graham Mani, Popai Leong, Doreen Ningalo, Prudence Bird and Zorika Morgan.
A total of 15 Pacific Island countries including Solomon Islands are participating in the Nations Cup.
The others are hosts Fiji, American Samoa, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), Kiribati, Norfolk Islands, Northern Mariana Islands (NMI), Palau, Papua New Guinea (PNG), Samoa, Tahiti, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.