The team had tremendous results where every individual notched up numerous wins on a scale which according to national coach Malcolm Kajer — the recent recipient of the Coach of the Year Award – had not been seen for a long time.
In the 10 and under girls singles division, Raetea Rongo took out the championship in finals of the main draw after an elimination round over top seed Audrey Tran 4-2, 4-1.
In the 10U girls doubles division, Rongo and her doubles partner, Tekura Tamangaro, reached the finals against Audrey Tran and Dorea Morina taking runner-up with 5- 3, 1-4 (tiebreaker 5-7) in a nail biting encounter.
Also in the 10U girls division, first timer Tamangaro won her consolation finals to come in fifth placing out of 13 players by taking the match over Yashwitha Reddy 4-1, 2-4 (tiebreaker 7-3), and Teivanui Wichman took seventh placing over Nicollete Lober 5-3, 4-0.
These were great results for both girls who came into the tournament with very little experience, Kajer said.
The 10U girls singles champion in April, Maiata Forsyth, moved up to the next level in the 12 to 14U division and was the ultimate winner of division two. She beat Poppy Tingey 6-3, 1-6, 7-6.
Forsyth was tested in the early rounds after being down in games on two occasions, and managing to mentally pull through and come back and win matches from behind.
“She is a tough player,” says coach Malcolm.
Mii Rairi was also a very mentally strong player, and made it to the 12U doubles semifinals with partner Forsyth before going down in a close and intense match.
Maka Maui made a clean sweep in his 14U boys singles division with a flawless performance. In his path to the final, he bested Marcus Abbott 6 -0, 6-0, fourth seed Jack Blow 6-1, 6-0, Caleb Mattison 7-6, 6-0, and first seed Josh Hartner 6-0, 6 -1 to take out the division with ease.
Maui put on a great display of consistent tennis combined with power after his Australian Nationals 12U performance, where he was a consolation finalist in the boys 12U group.
Arikitoa Allsworth fought his way through early rounds to reach the graded boys singles division 3 finals, taking out the division over Ethan Moy 3-6, 6-1, 6-1 in a tough encounter despite him being very ill.
In the graded boys singles division 4, Christopher Neururer reached the finals after playing great tennis in the early rounds. After a hard fought battle against 14-year-old and third seeded opponent, Dominic Wong-Toi, the younger Neururer at 12 years of age was unlucky to lose 2-6, 4-6.
Dreena Teapa recovered in the graded girls singles division 1 by taking out the consolation for five placing by beating Taleia Tuatao 6-4, 6-4.
Throughout the tournament, Teapa had close encounters where she managed to pull through until the end.
In her doubles with partner Timeri Wearing, they reached the semifinals against second seed Jessica Bergin and Sasha Warren winning the first set 6-4, then up 4-1 in the second set before going down 4-6 and losing the super tiebreaker 8-10. They were very unlucky not being able to close out the match to reach the finals.
Moana Une in the girls 14s won her first round against a top ranked 14U opponent and was very unlucky to go down further in the draw, but showed glimpses on how competitive she can be.
The 12U singles champion in April’s tournament, Teakaiti Toa also did her best in the new division of girls 14U, and has gained much experience at this higher level to apply towards the next tournament.
A highlight for the tournament was in the 12U girls doubles consolation finals where Kayla Fraser and Eiva Estall played a very close match. Despite having their chances to close out the match in the second set, they eventually went down 6-3, 4-6 (tiebreaker 11-13).
“I was a very proud coach in Auckland as the kids worked very hard eight weeks before the tournament by training 15 to 18 hours per week,” says Malcolm.
“It was a great performance from the entire team, and the hard work has certainly paid off. Congrats to all players, and a big thank you to all parents and supporters, especially main sponsors Prime Foods and Bluesky Cook Islands as well as the Tupapa Maraerenga Community Gym and Fitness Centre team and others. Our country has been well represented and we should all be very proud.”
-Tennis Cook Islands