Australia’s Gronya Somerville came out in fighting form on day one of the VICTOR Oceania Championships 2022 as the reigning and two-time mixed doubles champion aims to defend her title. Competing on her stomping grounds (Melbourne Sports and Aquatics Centre), she has taken to the draw with a new partner this year (Kenneth Choo) after her previous partner (Simon Leung) retired after their Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games debut.
The pair found good rhythm and consistency in their first international appearance as a pair, overcoming the challenge from New Zealand’s Jonathan Curtin and Jasmin Ng. Gronya, who is also the reigning and three-time champion in the women’s doubles, will be taking to the court with another new partner tomorrow (Kaitlyn Ea) as the women’s doubles draw gets underway.
- Kenneth Choo/Gronya Somerville (AUS) vs Jonathan Curtin/Jasmin Ng (NZL) 21-13 21-13
Meanwhile, New Zealand’s Jack Wang and Justine Villegas were ecstatic to get back on the international stage to test out their new partnership. Moreover, their win in the first round of the mixed doubles was testament to a successful rehabilitation programme on Justine’s behalf – having spent the better part of the last two years recovering from an ACL injury.
- Jack Wang/Justine Villegas (NZL) vs Jacob Schueler/Louisa Ma (AUS) 21-16 21-19
“I’m really happy with how Jack and I played today. I was quite nervous and excited for this game since this is my first international tournament since my knee surgery plus Jack and I are a new partnership. But we stuck to the plan and constantly reminded each other to have fun and that really helped with the nerves”, says Justine.
Meanwhile, Fiji’s two representative (Jared Chung and Sristi Nadan) teamed up to compete in the mixed doubles, taking on the more experienced Australians in a tough first round encounter.
- Le The Hung Pham/Jasmine Wong (AUS) vs Jared Chung/Sristi Nadan (FIJ)
“I guess I knew that it was going to be challenging and I was prepared for that. Mixed doubles was pretty good, we managed to get some good rallies in there, although we should have kept hold on the net more. Nonetheless, I have gained lots of good experiences and will definitely work harder for the next one”, says Sristi.
New Zealand’s Adam Jeffrey and Erena Calder-Hawkins made an inspiring comeback after trailing throughout the majority of their first game. The pair eventually recovered from 18-16 down to win five consecutive points and take the opening game, refusing to let go of the momentum and then lead throughout the entire second game.
- Adam Jeffrey/Erena Calder-Hawkins (NZL) vs Julian Mao Lun Lee/Kai Qi Teoh (AUS) 21-18 -21-17
Meanwhile, there was a tight contest between the players from Australia and New Zealand in the men’s doubles draw this evening. Across five men’s doubles matches, New Zealand came out on top in three of them; two of which went the distance:
- Tran Hoang Pham/Ricky Tang (AUS) vs Jonathan Curtin/Ryan Tong (NZL) 17-21 21-8 21-6
- Abhilash Sharma/Daxxon Vong (NZL) vs Ken Richardson/Jack Yu (AUS) 10-21 21-19 21-18
All five disciplines will be in action from tomorrow morning, with play starting from 11am (AEST). All matches on court one and two available to watch for free on the live stream, via Badminton Oceania’s YouTube Channel. Click here to watch.
Moreover, you can follow the draw on Tournament Software.
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