School sports

RI & MGS dethrone tennis champs

MGS students celebrating after winning the last singles match to take the B Division title at Kallang Tennis Centre yesterday.
MGS students celebrating after winning the last singles match to take the B Division title at Kallang Tennis Centre yesterday.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

RI outlast ACS(I) for first B boys' title since 2012 while MGS outclass RGS for girls' crown

One team were eyeing their third straight title while the other were gunning for revenge.

Much was at stake for the Schools National B Division boys' tennis final between defending champions Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) and last year's beaten finalists Raffles Institution (RI) at the Kallang Tennis Centre yesterday morning.

RI took the lead through the first singles, lost the first doubles before regaining the lead by winning the second doubles match.

It was left to Timothy Lim to deliver the winning point in the second singles. The 16-year-old did it in style, coming from a set down to beat Caleb Tay 5-7, 6-4, 6-2 to seal RI's first B boys' title since 2012.

ACS(I) won the inconsequential fifth match for a 2-3 final score, the same as last year's final.

Said Timothy: "I'm in Year 4, my last year in RI, so I guess we saved the best for last."

He was in control from the start, cruising to a 5-2 lead.

But nerves and boisterous cheers from rival supporters threw him off his game as he dropped the next five games and the set. But he regained his composure to win the next two sets to seal victory.

"I thought there was a chance I might lose (the match) after the first set. I got nervous and was affected by the cheering," he said.

"But when I found out we needed just one more point to win the title, I pushed on and brought my game back to how I started."

RI coach Weber Oh attributed the success to his players' fitness levels - and ability to excel under pressure, which he helped them build up through his training methods.

"The one thing the boys never liked me for is my tough training," he said. "When we do drills and a player doesn't hit certain goals, his friends get punished, not him, which makes him feel guilty.

"If you're not strong up there, you cannot win."

Losing captain Takeshi Koey was proud of his team.

"We did great, we didn't give up and continued fighting all the way," said the 16-year-old. "We won one doubles match this year when we lost both last year, so that's a great improvement."

Methodist Girls' School (MGS) upset defending champions Raffles Girls' School to regain the B title they last won in 2015.

Led by two singles players Deanne Choo and Trisha Mulani from the national junior team, MGS emerged comfortable 4-1 winners.

Said MGS coach Ang Hock Chai: "We told the girls that if they are the favourites, they have to play like they are the favourites, which they did."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 08, 2018, with the headline 'RI & MGS dethrone tennis champs'. Print Edition | Subscribe