Cook Islands youngster Maka Maui won the Pacific Oceania Junior Championship 16 and under Boys Singles title in a nail-biting match against Noah Ah Kim of Tahiti over the weekend in Fiji.
defeated Kim 4-6, 7-5, and 10-3 in the deciding super tiebreaker to win the
four games all in the first set, Maka lost his serve after having four game
points to go down 4-5. Kim went on to serve for the set, winning 6-4.
trailing in the second set, the Tahitian player had two match points at 5-4,
but failed to take them as Maui mentally stayed strong to hold his serve to
even it up to 5-all. Kim broke Maui’s serve again to go up 6-5, but the Cook
Islander bounced back to even it out six games all.
the super tiebreaker, Maui proved a stronger contender winning the match and
the title 10-3.
tennis head coach Malcolm Kajer said: “I take my hat off to Maka as he stayed
mentally strong and never gave up in these circumstances. He is now the
undisputed 16 and under boys singles champion of the Pacific Oceania region.”
Rongo, who had fought very hard against a very tenacious Mia Chang from Tahiti,
went down 1-6, 3-6 in the 14 and under Girls Singles final. In the second set
with so many game points to convert, Chang ran every ball down where most of
her returning shots landed close or on the baseline which caused Rongo to make
said: “Mia played some incredible defensive tennis, and turned on the offence
when needed. She is a very smart and determined opponent. I am so proud of
Raetea for making the finals and the work she has put in by showing up at the
courts at 5.45am to be coached and always with a smile on her face at that time
in the morning. I’m very sure with that attitude, good results will come her
the 14U Girls doubles finals, Rongo went on to partner up with Chang to win the
title against a solid pair Alisha Kenegal and Ashanti Ligo from Vanuatu 6-3,
the 16U Boys doubles final, Maui and partner Noah Ah Kim defeated Andy Cajigan
of Guam and Mii Soo Kwon of Saipan 6-3, 6-4.
this win, we claim the regional doubles champions,” Kajer said.
our last day in Fiji, all of our players took part in a social mixed doubles
tournament and contributed points with respective wins to help the East Pacific
retain the Regional Cup over the North and West Pacific.
from the organisers and spectators were that we were the smallest team of four
players, yet managed to pick up the second most titles apart from Tahiti.”
other Cook Islands players, Timeri Wearing placed ninth in the 16U Girls
Singles, and Luke Pierre managed 12th spot in the 16U Boys Singles.
I am so proud of my whole team as they did give it their very best and were
great ambassadors for our nation,” Kajer said. “I would like to thank the
International Tennis Federation, Oceania Tennis Federation, Fiji Tennis who was
a wonderful host for the event, Prime Foods for the help and support for the
fundraisers, and Maritime Cook Islands for windbreakers and Onu Sportwear for
ma’ata also to the Tennis Cook Islands Committee for their time consuming
efforts in making this trip possible for us. Last of all, meitaki ma’ata to
the parents of the players and the public support we received throughout
the games. It was hugely motivating and appreciated! Tennis in the Cook
Islands can only move forward from here on.”