Calls for more as Forrest and Faudemer celebrate clinch top prizes
NOT often do desperate times bring unmistakably positive outcomes, but for Caesarean Tennis Club there should be no lack of pride this week as they look back on a hugely successful return to competitive action.
The club’s Lockdown Singles Open, backed by Ingram Advocates, concluded on Saturday with two top-tier finals – and a hard-fought divisional clash – and again outlined its use as a tool for escapism while Covid-19 measures dominate not only the headlines but day-to-day life, too.
Natasha Forrest and James Faudemer capped off the month-long tournament with championship-winning performances in front of sun-kissed supporters, before talk switched to a follow-up doubles event planned for August.
Forrest – back in Jersey for what could be an extended summer break from Carson Newman University, Tennessee – fought off the challenge of birthday-girl Antonija Sokic in straight sets on Saturday morning [4-1, 4-3, 4-2], before Faudemer claimed the men’s title having dropped just three games against Scott Weaver [4-1, 4-2, 4-0].
Aaron Higgins also enjoyed success on finals day – clinching the men’s Division II crown thanks to a 2-4, 4-2, 4-1, 4-1 victory over Lee Ingram.
The tournament was played under lockdown friendly regulations – limiting sets to a maximum of six games plus a tiebreak and reducing close interaction – but the formalities were of little concern to those involved. Having an opportunity to play tennis of any kind in the sunshine, during these darkest of times, did just fine.
‘Lockdown felt like it dragged on,’ said Forrest. ‘Not being able to get on court was such a pain and I had to just do a lot of fitness stuff at home.
‘It was a really good idea doing this tournament and I’m really grateful for the sponsors making it possible. It has been good to compete while I’m back from university.
‘I felt in control of the match but it is always hard playing Antonija because she is consistent. I just had to focus, especially with the crowd as well, but I think I played well and she did too.’
Forrest took the first game having only swung her racket three times, with the opening point being followed by three consecutive double faults from her opponent.
Sokic improved throughout games two and three – claiming the latter for 2-1 – but doubles remained a constant and, against a strong forehand, she could do little to stop the opening set from falling Forrest’s way.
Another break handed Forrest a 2-0 lead in the second and an overhead smash at sudden-death deuce converted that advantage to three games. A two-set lead appeared a formality but Sokic snapped into shape, found her rhythm and offered resistance. From 3-0 down the 19-year-old forced a tie-break at three apiece, having saved three set points along the way.
That fightback was to prove fruitless, though. Forrest coasted to a 7-3 tie-break victory and then recovered from an early break in the third to bag the lion’s share of the healthy tournament prize pot.
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