Hail the tennis machine

National Schools A Division Tennis Championships at Kallang Tennis Centre on 7 May 2014. RI girls’ team’s Stephanie Wong (left) and Hannah Chew (centre) with their trophies.

It looks as if no one can stop the Raffles Institution (RI) juggernaut in the A Division National Schools Tennis Championships.

While both finals were close, RI extended their stranglehold of the A Division team event yesterday when they clinched both the boys' and girls' titles for the fourth year running.

Their boys' team beat Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) and the girls' team defeated Anglo-Chinese Junior College (ACJC), both by 3-2 scorelines, at the Kallang Tennis Centre.

With their win, the RI boys extended their reign as A Division kingpins to six years.

When asked how the school has been able to dominate the division, RI head coach Weber Oh told The New Paper: "It's the fighting spirit. The players fight hard, and even if they lose, they come out of the game knowing they've given their all.

"What I always tell them is to give of their best, no matter the result.

"They are responsible for their own results. They give their all during training and I try to prepare them as much as I can, but it's up to them. If we win, it's their victory."

MADE TO WORK

While the two RI teams entered both finals as favourites, they were made to sweat to retain their titles.

It was a back and forth affair in the boys' event, with ACJC and RI taking turns to lead.

ACJC's Timothy Lee drew first blood when he beat RI's Lionel Tan 6-3, 6-4.

Lee Kai Yi then made it even with a resounding 6-1, 6-0 win over Nick Kong, but Rohan Kamdar blitzed Ryan Goh 6-0, 6-1 to tip the scales back in favour of ACJC.

The final two doubles ties did the trick for the champions.

In a tense encounter, RI duo Basir Koh and Christopher Wu defeated Yeo Ee Jin and Imran Mooraj 1-6, 7-5, 6-3 to set up a grand finale.

Calvin Tjio and Elisha Chow ensured an RI triumph with a 6-3, 7-6 victory over Timothy Wee and Benedict Chua.

Meanwhile, in the girls' final, ACJC won the first two matches for a 2-0 lead.

Just when it looked as if there would be new champions crowned this year, the Raffles girls launched a fightback, rallying to win the next three matches to secure their A Division double.

They give their all during training and I try to prepare them as much as I can, but it's up to them. If we win, it's their victory." - RI tennis head coach Weber Oh.

This article was published on May 8 in The New Paper.

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