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Gatorade Malta Open Tennis
Matthew Asciak won the national title for the 11th consecutive time as the Gatorade Malta Open was played at the Marsa Sports Club.
In the final, attended by a sizeable crowd, Asciak prevailed over Benjamin Carlotti 7-6 6-1. He has now overtaken his parents, Gordon Asciak and Helen Degiorgio, as they were Malta champions for 10 consecutive years. Asciak Jnr won the prestigious tournament for the first time at the age of 15 years.
Carlotti, 30, hails from France and played University Tennis in North Carolina, US.
The first set was very close with Asciak taking a 3-1 lead and Carlotti fighting back to go 5-4 up. Asciak stepped up his game and won the first set in a tie-break 7-5.
The second set saw Asciak dominate all the way. His excellent drop-shots and volleys wore his opponent down and Asciak won the set 6-1 in a very straightforward manner.
On the way to the final, Asciak beat Adrian Marcello Vilanueva, Raphael Sammut and Mark Gatt without conceding a game. Carlotti beat Domenico Scordo 6-0 6-1, Kiril Nestorovski 6-0 6-0, Denzil Agius 6-1 6-1 and Bradley Callus 6-3 6-3.
Elaine Genovese won the Ladies Open title after beating Katrina Sammut 6-3 6-1 in the final.
Genovese eliminated Emma Mallia 6-0 6-0 and Julia Tedesco (Italy) 6-4 6-1.
In the other half of the draw, Sammut was forced to a third set by Ivana Kublickova 6-7 6-2 6-1 before overcoming Brenda Galea 6-3 6-2.
Genovese, who was abroad for the Malta Championships last year, had too much experience for her younger opponent. The first set provided those present with some exciting moments but Genovese showed her true potential in the second set.
Meanwhile, Asciak underlined his status as the country’s leading player by making it a double at the Malta Open.
In the doubles, he was partnered by Bradley Callus and they defended their title in style, beating Mark Gatt and Denzil Agius 6-3 6-1.
Malta Tennis Federation president David Farrugia Sacco, together with the Marsa Sports Club Tennis Section head Godwin Borg, presented trophies to the winners.
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The Gordon Asciak Tennis Academy ADULTS Group Coaching at Marsa Sports Club - October 2016 - Starting Monday 3rd October 2016
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The Gordon Asciak Tennis Academy CHILDREN'S Group Coaching at Marsa Sports Club - October 2016 - starting 1st October 2016
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The Marsa Sports Club Tennis Section in collaboration with The Gordon Asciak Tennis Academy is once again organising the Sunday Group Coaching for Junior, ages 4-18 years, starting Sunday 1st October 2016.
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Interview on ILLUM newspaper with Matthew Asciak. Read interview
Asciak downs Callus in final
Matthew Asciak continued to cement himself as the top player in the local tennis scene after winning the MSV Life Marsa Open men’s singles and doubles, held recently at Marsa Sports Club.
In the final, played at the Gordon Asciak Tennis Academy in-door courts, Asciak beat Bradley Callus in straight sets.
Both players produced some excellent tennis which pleased the sizeable crowd. However, Asciak, fresh from his fine showings at the Davis Cup tournament in Estonia, was in control throughout the match, winning it 6-2 6-1.
In the semi-finals, Asciak eliminated Denzil Agius while Callus stopped the impressive run of Ben Farrugia in reaching the last four.
In the doubles medal match, Asciak/Callus beat Mark Gatt/Loic Reynaud 6-2 6-1.
In the women’s singles, Alina Shcherbinina, still 12 years old, had the better of Brenda Galea in the final, winning 6-4 6-0.
Trophies were distributed by Norman Mifsud, representing MSV Life, Dr. David Farrugia Sacco, President Malta Tennis Federation, Godwin Borg, chairman of the Tennis Section, and Ralph Asciak, the Marsa Sports Club chairman.
Mixed fortunes for Malta team in San Marino tournament
The Maltese Davis Cup squad, made up of Matthew Asciak, Bradley Callus and brothers Bernard and Matthew Cassar Torregiani, together with team captain Stephen Caruana, have just returned from San Marino where they competed in the Davis Cup European Group III tournament.
Thirteen nations took part with the top four seeds being Cyprus, Estonia, Macedonia and Georgia. Malta were drawn in Group D along with Georgia, Albania and Iceland.
Asciak set the ball rolling at the Centro Tennis Cassa di Risparmio outdoor clay courts. He used all his experience and guile to beat his Icelandic opponent 6-3 6-2.
Bernard Cassar Torregiani followed suit, winning a hard-fought match after losing the first set – 5-7 7-6 6-1.
Asciak then partnered Callus in doubles and they won handsomely to complete the whitewash.
Malta met Albania in their next meeting. Asciak again got the team off to a good start, winning his match convincingly 6-0 6-0.
Bernard Cassar Torregiani also produced an excellent display, showing good tactical sense despite his young age to prevail 6-0 6-3.
With the tie safely won and a tough match against Georgia coming up the next day, Caruana rested Asciak and Cassar Torregiani for the doubles and opted for Callus and Matthew Cassar Torregiani.
Despite playing against the Albanian top two, the Maltese pair still managed to win the match in three sets.
The tie against Georgia was a decider for the group.
Asciak played against A. Metreveli, currently no.519 in the world. The Maltese no.1 put on a battling performance but it was not enough as the Georgian took the spoils 6-1 6-3.
Bernard Cassar Torregiani also found the going tough against N. Balashvili (no.120) and lost 6-1 6-0.
This defeat meant Malta had to face Montenegro in a 5-8th place classification match.
Asciak won his singles match again but Bernard Cassar Torregiani lost his encounter. The issue was to be decided in the doubles encounter.
Asciak and Callus played in the crunch tie but, despite trying different tactical solutions, they could not find a way past their opponents and lost 6-2 6-2.
Norway and Georgia were promoted to Group II after beating Cyprus and Estonia respectively in the decisive play-offs.
In a statement, the Malta Tennis Federation said playing four days in a row in scorching weather was no easy task for Caruana’s players.
“However, the preparation and commitment of the team for this tournament left the desired effect,” the MTF said while thanking Bank of Valletta for their continued support to the national teams.
Prior to the Davis Cup tournament in San Marino, the Maltese players accepted an Italian tennis federation invitation to attend a training camp in Sicily, held under the auspices of Tennis Europe.
The Maltese team moved up four places in the world rankings after placing seventh overall in the Eurozone Group Three tournament which was played recently in Estonia.
Malta was represented by Matthew Asciak, Bradley Callus and Cassar Torregiani brothers Bernard and Matthew.
This year, 15 teams took part. Malta was drawn in the only group consisting of three teams together with San Marino and tournament top seeds Moldova.
In the opening match, Asciak beat San Marino no.2 Pietro Grassi 6-1 6-1. Bernard Cassar Torregiani gave his all in the next match but was unlucky to lose to San Marino’s no.1 Marco de Rossi, going down after two tiebreaks 6-7(2) 6-7(3).
So, the doubles was to decide the issue.
Malta captain Steve Caruana paired Asciak with Bernard Cassar Torregiani to face De Rossi and Grassi and his decision yielded high dividends as his boys combined perfectly and ran out easy winners – 6-2 6-1.
Asciak was unable to play against Moldova, however, after feeling unwell and Callus filled his void to play Andrei Soltoiam in the opening tie.
Here, Callus’s service games proved to be a deciding factor as Soltoiam attacked his second serves with precision on his way to a 6-2 6-3 win.
Bernard Cassar Torregiani found the going tough against world no.145 Radu Albot as the young Maltese player was overpowered 6-0 6-1.
In doubles, Callus and Matthew Cassar Torregiani went down to Moldova’s top two players 6-2 6-3.
Asciak was back to the side in a classification match for 5th to 8th place against Greece. He seemed to have recovered well and defeated Vasilelos Iliopouloas 6-2 6-1.
Bernard Cassar Torregiani then faced Ioannis Stergiou, the Greek no.1 player who is way above the rest of his colleagues.
The Malta player did well to even the match when winning the second set but eventually lost the third.
The Cassar Torregiani brothers figured in the doubles against the experienced Greek pair. They fought hard and even had the opportunity of a set point but lost 7-5 6-4.
Cyprus and Estonia secured promotion after wins over Ireland and Moldova, respectively, in the decisive matches.
Source: Times of Malta