At the age of 14 years, Solange Skeene yesterday became the youngest player in the history of the Shell Tranquillity Open Tennis Tournament to have won the Women's Singles title. She achieved the feat during the finals at Victoria Avenue in Port-of-Spain, yesterday.
Her victory over Carlista Mohammed on court 2 turned back a 30-year plus record that was held by veteran Elizabeth Gibson who won it at the age of 15. The match also produced a new record time for the longest match in the tournament's history at two hours and 56 minutes, a mere four minutes shy of three gruelling hours battle for title honours.
Skeene who turned 14 just two weeks ago and was beaten by Shenelle Mohammed in the final last year, thought she was in for another dreadful defeat when Mohammed (Carlista) took the opening set 6-3. But the St Joseph Convent Port-of-Spain Form 2 student, dug deep, scoring shots at the right time to claw back into the game with a 6-2 second set win. And in a final set that barely had room for error, Skeene being cheered on by father Dexter Skeene, a former national player, prevailed 7-5 to lift a title that she credits to the Almighty God.
Afterwards she said, "Firstly, I would like to thank God for giving me the health, strength and resilience to last throughout the match and eventually win." Though her experience in the game had been less than half of her opponent's, Skeene said she was not worried when she went a set down as her focus was to play her best, which worked out in the end.
Last night Skeene was back in action when she teamed up with Emma Rose Trestrail to face the pair of Trevine Sellier and Anya King in the final of the Women's Doubles on court 2.
Meanwhile, Aidan Carter began his quest for honours in the Men's Singles by disposing of Kino Francis in straight sets 6-2, 6-0, while Richard Mc Letchie and Ebolum N'Wokolo also got perfect starts by prevailing over Jaydon Alexis 6-4, 6-4 and Luca Shamsi 7-5, 7-6(0) respectively.
There was also victory for Neil Lingo beating Peter Moore in the Men's Veterans Singles 6-4, 6-4 and Gian Luc Robinson, pulling off a hard-fought 6-4, 2-6, 7-5 win over Ethan Jeary on court 1.