Christopher Simnett: Garforth-Bles Celebrates Canada Day Classic

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***


Sam Garforth-Bles took the title and the $1,000 cheque at the Canada Day Classic men’s Open on Sunday.

Garforth-Bles, a member of the Rice University Tennis Team in Houston, TX, defeated Calgary’s Dennis Simsek 4-6, 6-2, 6-2 before a packed house to capture top honours. The top-seeded Garforth-Bles cruised to the final, blasting George Horna 6-1, 6-1 in the first round and hammering Mihai Oprescu 6-1, 6-2 in round two. He thumped fourth-seed Tyler Begg 6-1, 6-0 in the semifinals.

Simsek, seeded third, dumped second seed Carson Bell of Edmonton 6-2, 6-3 in the semifinals. Earlier, he defeated Jimmy Le 6-1, 6-1 and ousted sixth-seed Francis Del Rosario 6-1, 6-1 in the quarter-finals.

Garforth-Bles teamed with Zack Radetzky to win the Open doubles title. The unseeded pair defeated Francis Del Rosario and Alvin Caro 6-1, 6-2 in the first round and upset top-seeds Will Hotomanie and Dennis Simsek 6-2, 6-4 in the semifinals before winning the final by default over Carson Bell and Tobiasz Strozyk.

Airdrie’s Chris Simnett won the men’s 5.0 title, defeating Calgary junior Sidney Yap 6-4, 6-2 in the championship match. The top-seeded Simnett cruised past Valentin Varlam 6-0, 6-0 in the first round, defeated Adam Le Dain 6-1, 6-3 in the quarter-finals and edged third-seed Bruce Graham 6-3, 7-5 in the semis.

Yap defeated Mark Macconnell 1-6, 6-1, 6-2 in the first round, beat fourth-seed Jeremy Rabbitte 6-1, 7-5 in round two, edged French exchange student Jean Francois 6-2, 3-6, 7-5 in the quarter-finals and defeated Edmonton’s Benjamin Lawson 2-6, 6-3, 6-1 in the semis.

Graham and Macconnell won the 5.0 doubles title with a 6-1, 6-4 victory over the Edmonton pair of Lawson and Dana Pallesen in the final.

Unseeded Esteban Olivia won the men’s 4.0 title with a 6-1, 6-1 victory over Yujun Han in the championship match. Han, also unseeded, defeated top seed Darius Krzywanski 6-3, 6-2 in the first round and edged third-seed Thuan Tran 5-7, 6-2, 6-1 in the semifinals. Olivia defeated second-seed Roman Gabor 6-3, 1-0 (ret.) in the first round.

The 4.0 doubles final was a marathon as Jack Gordon and Bruce Cowper took the title with a 6-7 (20-18), 6-3, 10-7 victory over top-seeds Roman Gabor and Colin Matthews.

Jose Antonio Barcenas won the men’s 3.0 title with a 6-1, 6-3 victory over Gordon Davage in the championship match.

Barbara Maier won the women’s 5.0 title with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Jarka Dolemo in the championship match. The unseeded Maier defeated top-seed Karla Lima 6-0, 6-1 in the semifinals while Dolemo, also unseeded, defeated second-seed Laura Roe 6-3, 6-4 in the semis.

Top-seed Amber Zenith defeated second-seed Gigi Navarro 6-4, 3-6, 6-1 in the championship match to capture the women’s 4.0 title.

The top-seeded Edmonton pair of David Rossolatos and Daniela Perez Taylor won the mixed doubles title with a 7-6, 6-2 victory over Craig Coolahan and Chris Carruthers.

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