Rising stars Kris Balakrishnan and Steve Goh shared the limelight in uni’s resounding 6 sets to 2 win over second-placed Riverview in Round 5 of the Head Badge competition at the Manning lawn courts on Saturday.
It was the fourth straight win for SU1, elevating the side into a top four spot on the 1/1 table for the first time this season.
Strong performances in ITF Futures events in Mildura, Montreal and Japan during February and March have seen Balakrishnan’s world ranking reach a career-high #765 this month. Bala, 20, has been touring constantly since 2008.
At 21, Goh has been playing on the international circuit since he was 16. But balancing the demands of the professional tour with full-time study isn’t easy.
‘It’s a total commitment,’ said Goh, who completed his final years of high school via correspondence in order to compete at the top level.
‘You need to train every day, and you’re constantly travelling.’
Saturday’s win was Goh’s first match back after being sidelined by a torn elbow ligament incurred while playing ITF Futures events in Burnie and Mildura early in the year. Ranked ATP #794 in August ’09, Goh is officially on the comeback trail.
Both players will now head to Ipswich for a USD$15,000 ITF Futures event after the ANZAC weekend.
‘I need to make the semis there to qualify for the main draw in Bundaberg the following week,’ said Balakrishnan.
Asked whether he has ever gone toe-to-toe with Goh in a tournament match, Bala was more circumspect. ‘Don’t know … maybe not,’ he smiled.