Tennis: Cerf Island tournament-Giant-killer Laporte gets comeback victory


Men’s winner Damien LaporteThe finals of the inaugural Cerf Island tournament were played on Sunday on the newly built Cerf Island Resort’s court in the presence of Seychelles Tennis Association (STA) chairman Charlie Ng, the resort’s manager Foram Varsani, players, parents and friends.

After eliminating the country’s reining number one player Sylvester Delpech and Bernard Mein in the quarterfinal and semifinal, young Damien Laporte dug deep into his reserves to register one of the greatest local tennis comebacks to win the final against Romain.

Nine-year-old Laporte won the match 2-1 against 21-year-old Romain. After easily winning the first set 6-2, Romain was seen as the favourite and was on the way to clinching his first title of the season. But he didn’t know Laporte had something in store for him and was about to get a big shock.

Laporte won the first game of the second set, only for Romain to come back and win the second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth for a 5-1 advantage. With Romain serving for his second match ball after replacing his broken racket, Laporte made one of the biggest comebacks to garner four wins and level the set at five games apiece. He even won two more games to win the set 7-5 to tie the match at 1-1, forcing a third super tie-break set.

The decisive set was fiercely battled in the blazing sun with both players showing signs of fatigue. After they were tied at five games apiece, Laporte put in the extra touch to win the set 10-8 and the match 2-1.

Romain’s journey to the final was marked with victories over Christophe Levivier 2-0 (6-2, 6-1) in the quarterfinal and Baptiste Muller 2-0 (7-6, 6-2) in the semifinal.

Women’s champion Clyvie Delpech defeated Marie-May Isnard 2-0 (6-0, 7-5) in the final.

Winner Clyvie Delpech (right) and losing finalist Marie-May Isnard

Isnard qualified for the final after eliminating Thara Hoareau 2-0 (6-4, 6-1) in the semifinal, while Delpech easily eliminated her sister Christy 2-0 (6-0, 6-1) in the other semifinal match.

The players received their prizes from Mr Ng and Mrs Varsani during a gathering hosted by the resort.
As winners, Laporte and Delpeche garnered 500 points, while Romain and Isnard accumulated 250 each, putting them in the race for the Masters competition in October.
 What they said:

Damien Laporte (men’s winner)
“The match was very tough and I am happy I won. The moment I saw him (Stefan) replacing his racket, I knew I was going to win as I knew he is not used to playing with it. The competition as a whole was good as many players took part. I played very well and hope to continue on the same level in future tournaments.”

Stefan Romain (men’s runner-up)
“The match was OK, although I am a bit disappointed at losing to Damien. He is a good player with a lot of potential and I congratulate him for his victory. I really got out of the match after my racket’s string broke, but I am not looking for excuses for the defeat even though it had an impact on me psychologically. There are other competitions coming up and I will be around to give my best.”

Clyvie Delpech (women’s winner)
“The tournament was not very tough as there were not many of us and I played a very easy match against my sister in the semifinal. As for the final, it was not that easy as Marie-May put on a good show and also because of the intense heat. I am very happy I won though.”

Marie-May Isnard (women’s runner-up)
“As it is the beginning of the season, I have not been training regularly so it is normal to play at such a level. I was a bit under pressure during the first set, but I managed to calm things down and perform better in the second. Overall, I am satisfied with my performance as Clyvie played well.”

R. D.

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