A 9th place finish at a national tour event would be a fantastic result regardless of your age, but to do it at 15 years of age, with a partner only 6 months your senior, bodes well for the future. That is what Lucia and Laura managed at their first attempt; a 9th place in an exceptionally tough SA Open.
The 2017 SA Open women’s division was stacked with talent; four Olympians, World tour representatives from Slovakia, Thailand and the Czech Republic; as well as the rest of the best female players in the country today.
“That first game was so much fun… and a little scary at the same time!”
Lucia and Laura had a fairly standard introduction to the highest level of competition in the country, playing their first game on a main court against two of the previously mentioned World Tour players; Michaela Vorlova (CZE) and Lucia Michalovicova (SVK). A comfortable victory for the Europeans was also a brilliant learning experience for the Victorian rookies.
“That first game was so much fun… and a little scary at the same time!” said a rather chuffed Lucia post-game, “we made them work for their win… not too hard, but we made them work.”
They went on to lose to Queensland pair Smith/Mills before comfortably dispatching South Australians’ Brand and Corvoda; a win that would ensure their progress into the round of 16… and a clash with Olympian – and role model to almost every VBVA junior – Mariafe Artacho Del Solar (M-fe) and partner, Thai World tour player Yupa Phokongploy.
An easy victory on paper was not at all in sync with the flow of the game, as M-fe and Yupa explained to the girls after the game, “M-fe took us aside and complimented our tenacity, and our solid defence. She told us we made them have to work more than at any point during the tournament up until then… and that she’d be keeping an eye on our progression. She is such a fantastic role model!” A delighted Lucia recalls.
Fellow VBVA crew travelers Lauren and Alba, and Nick and Zeb each picked up 17th place finishes; fantastic results all round.