Written by: Christopher Simnett
***Chris grew up playing tennis in B.C. and was ranked as high as No. 2 provincially in the U12 and U16 divisions. He played in two junior national championships in the 80s. Now 39 years old, he is the “community champion” for the Tennis Canada Building Tennis Communities strategy in Airdrie, AB, where he lives with his wife and eight-year-old son. Chris spent 15 years as a journalist writing about sports for newspapers in B.C. and Alberta. He now works in public relations in Calgary. To learn more about Chris and his blog, please visit www.alltennis.ca***
Second-seed Harrison Scott of Calgary upset top-seeded Akhil Mehta of Edmonton 6-7(6), 6-3, 6-4 in the final of the boys’ Under-16 event at the U of A Junior Champs tournament in Edmonton.
Scott the runner-up at the Under-14 indoor nationals in March, only dropped one set en route to the title. He defeated Keenan Witsken 6-0, 6-1 in his first match and defeated Kyle Sluchinski 6-3, 6-2 in the quarter-finals before dumping surprise semifinalist Jerod Parker of Calgary 6-2, 6-4 to reach the final.
Parker defeated third-seed Jimmy Le of Calgary 6-3, 6-1 in the round of 16 and dumped fifth-seed Alexander Berdnikoff, also of Calgary, 7-5, 6-4 in the quarter-finals.
Mehta defeated Raymond Weich 6-0, 6-1 in the first round and Jonathan Waslen of Saskatchewan 6-1, 6-1 in the quarter-finals. He defeated another Saskatchewan player, Quin Pon 6-1, 6-1 in the semifinals. Pon edged Edmonton’s Jeffrey James 2-6, 6-3, 6-0 in the quarter-finals.
Edmonton’s Luke Manley, the second-seed, won the boys’ U18 event with a 6-1, 6-2 victory over unseeded Andre Selem de Stefano in Sunday’s final. de Stefano upset top-seed Mark Hamill of Red Deer 1-6, 7-6(4), 6-4 in the semifinals while Manley edged Mehta 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 in the other semi.
Fourth-seed Ayush Gupta of Edmonton won the boys’ U14 event. Gupta defeated third-seed Josh Peck 6-2, 6-3 in the championship match. Peck defeated top-seed Jamal Hinds of Edmonton 7-5, 6-4 in one semifinal while Gupta defeated unseeded Danny Wu 6-4, 6-3 in the other. In the quarter-finals Wu defeated second-seed Nolan Chan 3-6, 7-5, 6-1.
Wu won the boys’ U12 title with a 6-1, 6-1 victory over Daniel Wolfman.
In Girls’ action, Edmonton’s Jena Cheng continued her dominance by winning both the U18 and U16 titles. Cheng won all three of her matches in the U18 four player round-robin. Cheng defeated Dani Gryckiewicz 6-4, 6-0, beat Erika Voaklander 6-3, 6-0 and defeated second-place Molly James 6-1, 6-2. Voaklander finished third by way of a 7-5, 6-4 victory over Gryckiewicz.
In the U16 event, the top-seeded Cheng defeated second seed Mikaela Bennett of Calgary 7-5, 6-4 in the championship match.
Unseeded Calgarian Maja Dragovic won the girls’ U14 crown with a 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 victory over top-seed Claire Koke in the final. Earlier, Dragovic defeated second-seed Madison Prelle 6-0, 7-5 in the semifinals.
Second-seed Kiko Cunningham of Calgary defeated top-seed Ashleigh Jacobs of High River 6-1, 5-7, 10-6 to claim the girls’ U12 title.