Bendigo VIC, Australia, 28 October 2016 | David Packman

Papa New Guinean qualifier Abigail Tere-Apisah has defeated Naiktha Bains 6-4 6-3 to reach the semifinal of the Bendigo Tennis International on Friday.

Ranked world No.543, Tere-Apisah has now qualified for four main draws in as many weeks on the Australian Pro Tour, a run which has included semifinal appearances in Cairns and Brisbane, as well as now in Bendigo, her first ever appearance in a $50,000 ITF event.

“It’s been a good couple of weeks,” Tere-Apisah said. “I’ve gained a lot more confidence and I’ve just trusted my game more as the matches have gone on. I’ve had good preparation and it just gets better and better.”

After spending four years in the US at Georgia State University, Tere-Apisah, aged 24, took a year off before playing the Pro Tour last year.

“I didn’t do too well,” she admitted. “but this year I’ve had a good training environment with the right people around me and it’s working out.”

After being coached by her father as a junior, she now works with her brother Patrick. Adding to the family success, Patrick’s daughter, Australian junior Violet Apisah, recently claimed the WTA Future Stars title in Singapore. 

“I’m really proud of her,” Tere-Apisah said of her niece. “She’s had a really good year and she’s doing so well.

“It makes me want to work harder too. Anything’s possible.”

Tere-Apisah will now face Risa Ozaki of Japan for a place in Sunday’s Bendigo final. The top seed needed three sets to knock out in-form Queenslander Lizette Cabrera, who was recently awarded a wildcard into qualifying at the upcoming Australian Open after her solid performance on the Pro Tour of late.

The other remaining Australian, Tammi Patterson, was also ousted from the tournament on Friday, succumbing in straight sets to second-seed Asia Muhammad. The American will play Thai Veratchaya Wongteanchai in the semifinal.

“This will be the first time playing Risa,” Tere-Apisah said of her upcoming match. “I watched a little bit of her match before I went on and she looks very solid. I’m just going to go out and play my game as usual.

“Same routine, same everything and hopefully the result will follow.”


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