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***
For most tennis players, the Holy Grail is Wimbledon.
For Carson Bell, it’s much more personal.
Bell, who lost his father to cancer in 1998, finally won the tournament named for his dad, the Rob Bell Memorial Open, on Sunday – Father’s Day, no less.
Bell, the top-seed, defeated junior Akhil Mehta, one of the players he coaches at the Saville Centre in Edmonton, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 to finally capture the title after six runner-up finishes.
After the final match, Bell posted this on his facebook page:
“After years of disappointment and coming up 1 match short 6 times, finally won the big one. Rob Bell Memorial Champion!”
It was an emotional victory for the Edmontonian, who cruised through his opening three matches before having to overcome a one-set deficit in the final against the big-hitting 16-year-old Mehta.
Bell defeated Hyacinthe Fallu 6-1, 6-1 in his first round, dumped Evan Delancey 6-0, 6-2 in the quarter-finals and shocked the crafty veteran Rene Simon of Sylvan Lake 6-1, 6-1 in the semifinals.
The unseeded Mehta defeated Calgary’s Adam Bond 6-2, 6-3 in the first round, edged junior rival Mark Hamill of Red Deer 5-7, 7-5, 6-4 in the quarters and downed second-seed Peter Skoda of Edmonton 6-3, 6-4 in the semis.
Demi Henschel won the women’s title at the event, thumping unseeded Camilla Knight 6-0, 6-3 in the championship match.
Top-seed Fandhi Irawan won the men’s 5.0 title with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over second-seed Kevin Longworth in the final while first-seed Shaira Somani won the women’s 5.0 crown with a 6-1, 6-2 championship match victory over second-seed Gillian Shea.
Top-seed Joanne Vetsch won the women’s 4.0 title while second-seed Roman Gabor took the men’s 4.0 crown. Jihyun Yun won the men’s 3.0 championship.