Melbourne VIC, Australia, 24 January 2015 | Rob Sheeley

Precocious 14-year-old Violet Apisah’s meteoric rise through the junior ranks reached a new high at Melbourne Park on Saturday.

At her first foray into international junior tennis, she defeated Italian Bianca Turati in three sets 3-6 6-4 6-3.

Understandably ecstatic with the result, the former Papua New Guinea resident said the match was as much about enjoyment as the outcome.

“I’m so happy. I just wanted to go out there and have some fun,” she said.

“This is only my first year, I just wanted to go out there and show people what I do best.”

Trailing after a first set that took just 31 minutes and yielded 20 unforced errors from the racquet of Apisah, she quickly put the early deficit behind her and found her groove.

“I was just really nervous, I think I was doubting myself sometimes.

“But then I just said ‘ok, don’t be nervous’ and just did what I do”

After securing the second set, Apisah was all-but dominant in the third, breaking the serve of Turati early and methodically closing out the match.

“I just had to do what I did in the second set and make less errors and go for my shots.”

If Apisah’s predictions are correct, she may well be capable of producing even better tennis as the tournament continues.

“I think I played better last year, I want to keep working on my game.

“I know I can hit hard and everything, all these other girls are really consistent, I just need to work on that.”

Apisah and her family came to Australia from Port Moresby just over six years ago. She had never played tennis competitively before her arrival although her father Patrick is a tennis coach.

She says the move has been one of the catalysts for her improvement.

“We didn’t have any electronics or the equipment that we have here. I’ve developed and it has helped me out with my tennis and with my family as well, with my other brothers and sisters education.”

Apisah will now meet Russian Anastasia Gasanova in the second round after she disposed of the tournament’s 8th seed Fiona Ferro in her opening match.


>>View the full girls’ singles draw here.