Tennis twins Nadine and Natasha do Singapore proud
Twins Nadine and Natasha Loh, 13, are already looking to assert their dominance in the local and international junior tennis scene.
Just two days before their seniors at Methodist Girls' School clinched the National Schools' B Division Tennis Championship, the twins won their doubles decider at the final of the ITF World Junior Tennis Competition's Asia & Oceania pre-qualifying event - held in Kuching from Feb 26 to March 2 - to secure the title for Singapore.
Together with teammate Tessa Wong, also 13, they beat Malaysia 2-1 in the final to secure a spot in the final qualifying event in Bangkok from April 27 to May 2.
Earlier, Singapore pipped No. 2 seed Sri Lanka in the preliminary round, then cruised through their first-round matches against Iraq and Iran, and crushed Nepal 3-0 in the semi-finals.
For Royal Sporting House-sponsored Nadine and Natasha, who have been playing tennis for six years, their doubles win over the host nation was the sweetest.
With the score tied at 1-1 - after both sides each won the singles - it was down to the doubles decider to determine the winners.
Despite dropping the first set and being 1-3 down in the second, Nadine and Natasha rallied to defeat their higher-ranked opponents - Sara Alisha Nayar and Sharifah Elysia Wan Abdul Raman - 5-7, 6-3, 6-2.
Their win dominated the main sports page of local newspaper Borneo Post.
Speaking to The New Paper after a training session yesterday, Natasha said: "We told ourselves we could do it for each other and for Singapore. We were motivated to win because we wanted Singapore to be proud of us."
Nadine added: "We're really proud of ourselves. We're also relieved the match is finally over!"
While the twins hope to represent the Republic in the Fed Cup one day, one of their immediate goals is winning the under-14 singles event in the STA-SPEX Junior Age Group tournament later this month.
They had won the doubles event in 2013, and have since set their eyes on dominating the singles as well.
Nadine, who is six minutes younger, is certain that she will beat her sister if they meet in a singles match.
"I will win," said Nadine, laughing. "I feel more confident when I play singles."
Besides training with the national squad on weekdays, the three girls also have school-team training.
"It's all about good time management," said Nadine.
Tessa agreed, saying: "Nearing the exams, I'll focus on my work more, but when there are competitions coming up, I will focus more on tennis."
Despite being in a different school from the twins, Tessa said she remains close friends with them, as all three had attended primary school together at Singapore Chinese Girls' School.
"This trip to Kuching brought us even closer," said Tessa, who is now at Raffles Girls' School.
If the trio can ace the Bangkok qualifiers, then they can look forward to more trips together, including the Finals in the Czech Republic from Aug 3-8.
"We were motivated to win because we wanted Singapore to be proud of us."
— Older twin Natasha Loh