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Indonesia’s Gumulya beats team and room mate to win tennis gold

26 Sep 2017
Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, September 26, 2017: Indonesia’s Beatrice Gumulya beat her team mate - and her room mate at the 5th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games - to win the gold medal in the women’s tennis singles final on Tuesday. In a thrilling final that lasted two and a half hours, Gumulya beat her younger compatriot Aldila Sutjiadi 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.

But 26-year-old Gumulya, Indonesia’s top-ranked player at 768 in the world, was pushed all the way by her unranked opponent, who saved an astonishing 10 match points before final succumbing on the 11th. "Most of those 10 points were my own mistakes. I have never played a match like this,” Gumulya said. “I was getting seriously tired...but Sutjiadi is a real fighter. She is a really good player too. She never gave up.”

Sutjiadi ahd earlier looked to be heading to a much quicker defeat when she fell 5-1 down in the deciding third set after winning the second. But the 22-year-old, who has just graduated from the University of Kentucky, showed that she had learnt a lot from Gumulya, a former student at Clemson University in North Carolina, and her room mate at the Ashgabat Athlete’s Village.

She saved three match points in a row when she was down 5-1 and saved more to get within a point of reducing the deficit to 5-4 in front of a packed centre court at the 4,000-seat Indoor Tennis Arena.

“It took a lot of nerve to keep fighting. (But) I am a real battler. I don't like to give up,” Sutjiadi said. "I have never saved so many match points before. I was thinking I might get back into the game again."

When the epic contest finally ended, the pair embraced each other at the net, agreeing that it was a great outcome for Indonesian tennis and vowing that their blossoming friendship would be unaffected by the outcome.

“We are sharing a room here and we are friends so we don't fight,” said Gumulya. “We will be celebrating together. Maybe we will go to the mall today and then go sightseeing in Ashgabat tomorrow. "On the court, we’ll fight; off the court, it's different."
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