Queensland, Australia, 25 November 2013 | Tennis Australia
Brisbane Chargers had only one thing in mind on Sunday at the finals of the Asia-Pacific Tennis League – earning the championship for their second year running.
In the sophomore year of the competition, backing up for two in a row was never going to be easy, especially with Beenleigh Blaze recruit Kimberly Birrell and Captain Shannon Stamenovic ready to rewrite history after taking second place in 2012. But it wasn’t to be as the wet conditions proved to favour the ocean predators.
Shaw Park Sharks Junior Fed Cup representative Priscilla Hon was inspirational in her victory over Blaze captain Shannon Stamenovic 3-4 4-3 4-2 in what would set the tone for a 4 – 1 match victory. The Sharks followed up Hon’s victory with a pair of straight sets wins before young Blaze competitor Birrell took down Lizette Cabrera 4-2 4-3 ensuring the deciding result would come from the doubles. The title was clinched for the Sharks when the pairing of Rachel Tredoux and Chelsea Te Tai came from behind to defeat Elizabeth James and Kimberly Birrell 2-4 4-3 (13-11).
“I’m very proud of all the girls effort this season. To be able to defend our title is unbelievable and something I never thought possible,” said Sharks captain Ashling Sumner.
The men’s final saw the Tennis Brisbane Chargers defend their QLD Conference title against the Shaw Park Sharks winning 4 rubbers to 0. In what was arguably one of the best matches of the competition, Chargers spearhead Robert Smeets came back from 3-1 down in the third set to overcome Junior Davis Cup representative Oliver Anderson by a score line of 4-3 2-4 4-3. This match would prove psychologically decisive as the other three singles matches all went the way of the Chargers in straight sets. Smeets, who finished the conference undefeated in both singles and doubles matches, was full of praise for his young opponent.
“Oli played incredible and really made me work for the win. I thought I was gone at 3-1 down,” he explained.
With the overall result at 4 – 0 and more hail and extreme Queensland conditions setting in at the Queensland Tennis Centre, it was decided to abandon the two doubles rubbers. Despite missing the tie through injury, Chargers spiritual leader John Millman assisted the team from the sideline in the role of on court coach. He will join his teammates for the ATL final in Melbourne.
The Chargers and Sharks now head to Melbourne for the ATL Playoffs, where they will battle the winners of each of the NSW, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia conferences as well as a team from Japan, Korea and the Pacific.