Curmi, Genovese claim first doubles gold in 30 years
Maltese tennis was in seventh heaven yesterday after putting its hands on two historic gold medals at the Marsa Sports Club.
Matija Pecotic produced a gutsy performance to beat tournament’s number 1 seed Lucas Catarina 6-1 6-2 to help Malta win its first ever gold medal in this event.
The local supporters that filled the Marsa Sports Club were instrumental in helping Pecotic make big gains throughout the match, tilting the tie to his favour and eventually beat the Monaco representative.
Pecotic lauded his team’s backing and described this success as a collective effort because there was a lot of hard work and commitment behind the scenes to reach such milestones.
“Whenever I had any moment of doubt, there was always someone from the crowd who was encouraging me,” he told the Times of Malta.
“I wish I could play more games in front of such a crowd.”
Ranked 539 in the world, Pecotic dominated the first set 6-1.
In the second set, Catarina was looking to start a rally and level the game with both players tied at 2-2 after fourth game.
However, in the following games the Maltese player gave Catarina little space to breath as he went on to win the next four games and win 6-2.
Catarina, whose career-high singles ranking is of 341, was on the back of a win in the ITF Sweden F12 tournament beating Sweden’s Max Dahlin.
“It’s been the story of this whole week where I had to face these difficult challenges on paper, but I managed to always win the big points during the matches which helped me win this tournament,” he said.
Pecotic returns in action this morning when he teams up with Matthew Asciak to face Cyprus pair Sergis Kyratzis and Eleftherios Neos for the gold medal in the doubles.
Earlier in the day, the women’s doubles event put the tennis community into elation as Francesca Curmi and Elaine Genovese won Malta’s first gold in three decades in this event.
Genovese and Curmi’s win brought back fond memories of the 1993 edition when Carol Curmi and Helen Asciak, two greats of Maltese tennis, had placed first in this event.
The Maltese pair beat Luxembourg’s Eleonora Molinaro and Marie Weckerie in straights sets after winning 6-3, 6-3.
Last year, Genovese and Curmi had already produced a stunning result for the Maltese tennis community after winning a silver medal in the prestigious Mediterranean Games.
“After last year’s silver in the Mediterranean Games, there were high expectations on both of us to deliver a gold medal in these Games on our home soil,” Genovese told the Times of Malta.
“In this final, we made sure to remain focused and fight on every ball, and with the help of the energetic crowd we made sure to take home victory.
Curmi, on her part, will be looking to bring another gold for Malta when she faces Victoria Jimenez of Andorra, who qualified at the expense of Genovese in the semi-finals, in today’s singles final.
“We woke up today and we wanted it to make it happen,” Curmi pointed out.
“We are delighted with our display and we are proud to have achieved such result.”
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