Gibson’s court heats up in classic tennis tourney’s return

The 30 C degree weather did not deter a full draw from returning for the 47th Annual Sunshine Coast Tennis Tournament, after it lay dormant for two years from COVID restrictions. Usual suspects as well as new hot shots, enduring the ferries and hoards of long-weekend tourists, attended with hopes and dreams of taking hardware and spoils home with them.

Even with the hiatus, the organizers Darcy and Shelley Lawrence didn’t lose a step, still having superb sponsorship, a catered salmon BBQ dinner at the grass court, lovely door prizes, well-organized and scheduled gameplay, and even slick registration swag. Not to mention, the Dougall Park courts had just been recently resurfaced in a lovely tone of blue, providing some nice grippiness to the balls.

With the mixed doubles event being very popular, the 16-team draw filled quickly once registration opened, having a waitlist almost immediately (may have to expand the tournament but would need another set of courts: wink, wink, nudge, nudge Town of Gibsons ). With the mixed doubles final taking place Saturday afternoon on the grass, finalists had to endure three matches back-to-back-to-back, and in the end, the local cherubs, Shelley Lawrence and Gustav Guzek,’s power and guile were just too much. They retained their title from the Australian father-daughter duo, Selkie and Michael Smith, 6-3, 6-0.

The next morning saw most semi-final games of the main draw being played, which allowed the courts to gradually bake so that most of the finals were played in sweltering conditions. Local mother-daughter duo, Marian and Madison Shoemaker matched that heat, eradicating their competition throughout the tournament beating Stephanie Maricevic and Jennifer Wood, 6-0,6-2, in the women’s double final.

Another sizzling duo were local uncle-nephew bandits, Gustav Guzek and Otto Grunow, who dispatched the hungry Victoria-based Steven Lorenzo-Baileys and Michael Smith, 6-3, 6-4, in the men’s doubles final, earning their seventh title in the eight times they’ve teamed up for this event.

The men’s singles championship was, alas, a walkover, as Josh Kalef forfeited in the final, giving Chad Brachat the championship (although Chad did beat Josh in earlier stages 6-3,6-0).

The most savage and grueling match of the tournament saw Janet Schembri and Adele Wood go toe-to-toe in the heat of the day with what seemed like every point averaging 15-20 shot rallies going the distance in a three-set thriller. Janet just outlasted her opponent and the heat by claiming the women’s singles title, 6-3, 5-7,11-9.

Would love to keep seeing the tournament retain its local contingent so if you are a tennis buff and/or enthusiast, we’d love to see you on the court next year!

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