SOL23: PNG crowned tennis mixed doubles champs

PNG’s Abigail Tere-Apisah and Mathew Stubbings claimed the coveted mixed doubles. Photos: Rhianto Manuga, Pacific Games News Service

Papua New Guinea (PNG) won the Sol2023 Pacific Games tennis mixed doubles competition on Wednesday at Honiara’s National Tennis Centre.

PNG’s Abigail Tere-Apisah and Mathew Stubbings claimed the coveted mixed doubles title they let slip four years ago in Samoa, defeating Tahiti’s pairing of Mehetia Boodisie and Antoine Vosin in straight sets (6-3, 6-0) in Wednesday’s gold medal match.

Cheered on by the PNG community in Honiara, the pair powered home in the final set without losing a point and gaining sweet victory, sparking widespread celebrations on court six at the National Tennis Centre.

The pair credited the massive home support they received, which helped give them the edge in winning today’s final – trading their Samoa 2019 silver medal for gold this time round.

“I am just really so happy with today’s win. Its is even sweeter that we have managed to go one better than we did four years ago, losing in the final of this event. It is always really special to win a medal, let alone win gold for your country. I am indeed grateful for the support, especially having my partner and son here with me – so it is extra special for me,” Tere-Apisah said.

Sharing similar sentiments, Stubbings described winning gold this time round.

“To get over 2019’s finals disappointment and win gold here at Sol2023 is pretty amazing. Thank you for all the support and the love we’ve received here – which is amazing.”

Meanwhile, Fiji took out the mixed doubles bronze after a hard fought three set (6-4, 3-6, 11-9) victory over Samoa.

The experienced Fiji’s Tarani Kamoe and William O’Connell revealed that making a comeback after 12 years and winning a winning a bronze medal at Sol2023 is the icing on the cake.

“We last played together as a mixed doubles pair in 2011, and to reunite after 12 years and win a medal together here at Sol2023 makes this victory even more special,” Kamoe said.

Wednesday’s session also witnessed the men’s and women’s singles semi-finals.

Semi-final one of the men’s competition saw New Caledonia’s Heremana Courte defeat PNG’s Stubbings in straight sets (6-1, 6-2). The second saw Tahiti’s Heye Kelley defeat Guam’s Camden Camacho also in straight sets (6-2, 6-3).

The women’s semi-finals saw PNG’s Abigail Tere-Apisah easing past Samoa’s Eleanor Schuster (6-0, 7-5) to book a date with Samoa’s Annerly Georgopoulus, who won the other semi-final against Solomon Islands’ hometown favourite, Zorika Dalice Morgan in straight sets (6-2, 6-4).

Tennis competitions conclude on Thursday with four tennis finals set to take place. They include the women’s singles, men’s singles, women’s doubles and men’s doubles. Entry is $30.

By Donaldson Saepioh, Pacific Games News Service