Maria steals the show in DCU
MARIA Pearla Biansumba from Dundalk Tennis Club stole the show last week when she won European Under-14 Week 2 title, held at DCU national tennis centre in Dublin.
The Tennis Europe event features a batch of players who travel throughout the continent on the junior tennis circuit in search of international ranking points.
Maria, who lives in Kildare, has been training out of Dundalk's high-performance tennis academy for the past three years under the guidance of Davis Cup and head performance coach and manager John McGahon.
There are only a handful of juniors from Ireland to win this Tennis Europe event, making this an extremely prestigious event and one for Maria to cherish.
En route to the title Maria defeated Marija Tumanoviciute from Lithuania 6-4 6-2. In the second round Biansumba defeated Shauna Heffernan from Ireland 6/3 6/2. In the quarter finals Maria defeated Katie Morrissey 6/2 6/3 and in the semis Sophia Derivan retired when 2-0 down in the first set because of a virus to give Maria her first taste of a final of a European and international junior championship.
In the final Maria faced Caoimbe Nilblock who trains at the national tennis centre in Dublin. This was a mouth-watering clash that went the distance and had plenty of momentum swings. Maria fought her self to a first set victory winning it in a tie break 7/6. However with an array of unforced errors and slip of concentration it only took 40 minutes before Maria was 0/6 1/5 down and serving to stay in the match. Maria gave herself a mountain to climb - and climb that mountain she did. After holding her serve and breaking twice Maria clawed her way back into the match and held serve at 5/5 to herself 6/5 up. Nilblock, who was upset from the relentless comeback of Biansumba, had no answer and was broke once more by Maria to take the match and the tennis Europe title 7/6 0/6 7/5.
This was a huge performance and title to take for Maria and one that should she can build on as she moves into under 16s next year where international competition becomes even more competitive.
Maria, also played doubles in the event where she made the finals with her partner Zara Ryan. The pair played extremely well throughout the event and were unfortunate not to win the doubles title, losing in a third set championship tie-breaker to Lithuanian and Italian pair Vikorisija Banaityte and Valentina Urelli Rinaldi.
Elsewhere, att the Shankill junior championships in Dublin Ruth Copas defeated fellow Dundalk team member and training partner Aoife Tonna Barthet in the final to take the Dublin title 6-3 6-2.
In the North east junior open held at lay town Bettystown, both Daniel Mullen and Jamie battle from Dundalk performance academy reached the final with Mullen winning the event 6-3 6-2.
Anna Mai Mullen and Klara Hjalmers from Dundalk competed at the finals of the north east junior open under 14 with Mullen winning the event 6-4 6-2, while Siofra Watson competed at the Rushbrooke junior open in Cork, winning the Girls Under-16 event.
The Dundalk performance juniors now prepare for the junior interprovincials whereby nine players compete from the academy for their province and then onto the Irish national Fitzwilliam junior open.