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Games of the Small States of Europe

Asciak, Pecotic deliver gold in doubles, Curmi takes silver

From left: Matthew Asciak, Gordon Asciak and Matija Pecotic celebrate Malta’s victory in the men’s doubles.

Asciak follows in the footsteps of his parents 30 years on

Matthew Asciak and Matija Pecotic produced a memorable performance to deliver another golden moment in Maltese tennis after winning the men’s doubles.

The Maltese duo dominated their Cyprus opponents – Sergis Kyratzis and Eleftherios Neo, winning in straight sets, 6-1, 6-4 in front of an electric crowd at the Marsa Sports Club.

In the process, this was exactly Malta’s 100th gold in GSSE history, won minutes after Felix Wetzel clinched first place in the table tennis men’s singles event.

For Pecotic, this was his second gold medal representing Malta after triumphing in the singles event.

On the other hand, for Asciak this was a special moment as he emulated his parents – Gordon and Helen, both present at the game – in winning the doubles event at the Games of the Small States of Europe Asciak was also crossing off another objective from his list in winning his first-ever gold medal at these Games after having already claimed silver and bronze in previous editions.

“I have been watching the videos of my parents winning gold in front of the home crowd back in 1993 for a long time,” Asciak told the Times of Malta.

“I am truly proud to have managed to win this event together with a special player like Matija Pecotic, and to have
finally won a gold medal in these Games.”

The gold medal won by Pecotic and Asciak also meant that Malta clinched its third one in these Games, an overall record for this sport in the history of the GSSE.

Asciak described this moment as very important for local tennis as he eyes more development in this sport following these positive results throughout this week of games.

“In recent years, we have been producing a lot of positive results, especially in the women’s category, including in last year’s Mediterranean Games and we hope that we can continue to follow this path.”

Francesca Curmi. Photo: Matthew Mirabelli

Brave Curmi loses

Meanwhile, Asciak collected his second medal on the day after teaming up with Elaine Genovese to win the bronze in the mixed doubles.

The Maltese duo beat Andorra’s Victoria Jimenez and Eric Cervoz 6-4, 6-0.

Malta’s Francesca Curmi could not repeat Pecotic’s success in the men’s singles after losing to Victoria Jimenez in two sets.

Andorra’s Jimenez, who won 6-2, 6-4, and was the favourite to win the women’s singles heading into this tournament.

The 2005-born player is one of the most exciting upcoming talents in women’s tennis and is currently ranked 185 in the world, with a career-high of 121 just last November.

Last week, Jimenez lost to Australia’s Jaimee Fourlis (6-4, 4-6, 6-3) in the French Open qualifier.

She is also a 2020 Australian Open girls’ singles title winner before becoming Andorra’s maiden player to feature in a WTA tournament main draw when she played Kiki Bertens in the Madrid Open.

Curmi, ranked 317, staged a gutsy display, especially in the second set where she went toe-to-toe with the Andorra
representative before the latter took command of the game in the final couple of sets and clinch gold for her country.

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