15 January 2020

Aces abound as Bai wins doubles at Canberra International

| Michael Weaver
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Tennis, Canberra International

Women’s doubles champions Jaimee Fourlis and Alison Bai after the Canberra International. Photo: Ben Southall.

Canberra’s Alison Bai has teamed with Victorian Jaimee Fourlis to claim the women’s doubles title at the Apis Canberra International – the International Tennis Federation World Tennis Tour event relocated to Bendigo due to smoke from the South Coast bushfires.

For Bai and Fourlis, it’s their second title together after also winning the ACT Claycourt International in March last year.

After losing the first set 5-7, Bai and Fourlis recovered to take the second 6-4.

In the third set tiebreak, they fell behind 5-8 before rattling off five consecutive points to claim the title, defeating Hungarian Anna Bondar and Pemra Ozgen of Turkey.

The pair has now compiled a 10-1 win-loss record from their last three events together, with Bai observing the pair complement each other well.

“I think we gel well personality wise. Jaimee is a bit more fiery while I’m a bit more laid back so I think we combine pretty well in that regard. We also get along really well off the court so that helps our chemistry on the court,” Bai said.

The Apis Canberra International was relocated to Bendigo just three days before the event as smoke made it unsafe for spectators and competitors.

Tournament director and Tennis ACT CEO Kim Kachel said it had been a collective effort to relocate the event and he was incredibly thankful to all those involved.

“I want to take this opportunity to acknowledge everyone who assisted with the relocation of this event from Canberra to Bendigo. Thank you to the players, Fosterville Gold Tennis Centre [in Bendigo], the Bendigo Tennis Association, the team of stringers, the AO Ballkid squad and local Bendigo ball kids, our sponsors, and all the staff from Tennis Australia, the member associations and the whole Tennis ACT team. We could not have delivered this event without you,” Mr Kachel said.

“Our thoughts are very much with those communities across Australia who are being impacted by these fires.”

The event was part of the Aces for Bushfire Relief campaign. Every ace served saw $100 donated to the Australian Red Cross Bushfire Disaster Relief and Recovery. A total of 997 aces were served across the tournament.

“Combined with the gold coin donation entry, we have surpassed $100,000 raised towards the Australian Red Cross campaign,” Ms Kachel said.

German Philipp Kohlschreiber won the men’s singles title, while Magdalena Frech of Poland won the women’s singles final.

Kohlschreiber secured a hard-fought victory over Emil Ruusuvuori of Finland (7-6, 4-6, 6-3), while Frech was crowned the women’s champion after top seed Patricia Maria Tig of Romania was unable to take to the court due to a foot and calf injury.

Kohlschreiber, the world number 79, said it was a great way to start 2020.

“I am very happy, playing the first tournament of the new season. It is the best start I could imagine,” he said.

“It was a very tough tournament with tricky conditions. I think we both played a good final, but I think maybe my experience helped me out today.”

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