Alberta’s top junior tennis players were once again front and centre in the finals of the U14 Rogers Indoor Nationals held in Vancouver, March 30-April 5. The U14 Alberta team rose to the occasion, not to be outdone by the previous week’s outstanding results attained by the Alberta U12s. (Read more on the U12 results).
Nawal Youssef, with partner Alexia Jacobs, stole the gold in the U14 girls doubles event in two close sets, both going to tiebreakers. This is Nawal’s second national championship in doubles. Last year she won the U12 Junior Outdoor Nationals with partner Gianna Oboniye.
Photo above: 2019 U14 Junior Indoor National Doubles Champions, Nawal Youssef and Alexia Jacobs.
Nawal described the final match, a close encounter of the tiebreaker kind. They won, 7-6 (3), 7-6 (6):
“The last match went overall really well. Although sometimes we felt pressured, we just tried our best to stay focused. We were able to manage our nerves by pumping each other up and remaining positive. The other team was strong and what made it so close was that both teams were able to hold serve. We all served really well in the match. It came down to a couple of points in the tiebreak to make the difference. I was on serve and Alexia hit a beautiful volley winner for us to take the win.”
Alexia and Nawal train together at the National Training Centre in Calgary. Nawal described the partnership: “We won the U14 doubles last summer at the Stanley Park Open as well as played at U12 Indoor Nationals in 2017. Our styles complement each other, we communicate easily, and we are good friends. It’s been a great experience for both of us.”
As well as winning the doubles, Nawal made the top eight and Alexia won Flight #1 in singles (ninth place overall). Nawal and Alexia both played a marathon of twelve matches in seven days (four doubles and eight singles). Alexia ended with a spectacular 11-1 win-loss record, winning all but one of her twelve matches. Her only loss was to the third seed in singles (1-6, 2-6).
In another outstanding repeat performance, Martyna Ostrzygalo made the U14 singles final for the second year in a row. Last year she faced teammate Mia Kupres at the Outdoor Junior Nationals to take second place. This year again she worked her way through six matches, all the way to the singles final, taking on the first seed, Kayla Cross. Although it was not her day to win the title (1-6, 2-6), she can happily claim an impressive #2 in Canada at the U14 singles level, two years in a row.
Photo below: Martyna Ostrzygalo, #2 in Canada in U14 singles.
Aurora Pedwell had a strong tournament that included wins over the #5 and #13 seeds and placed 11th/12th.
Gianna Oboniye won Flight #2 and came in 17th.
Klara Merrick played in the second flight, ending with valuable national experience and placing 23rd/24th.
Isabella Naugler ended the tournament 34th in the country.
Kaetan Mehta played in the first flight. His tournament included a win over the tournament 5th seed. He finished 13th/16th.
Chetanna Amadike won the Boys U14 Flight #3 and placed 25th.
Adam Faragcao, fresh off of strong results at the U12 nationals the previous weekend, placed 33rd.
Mac Kim ended the tournament 35th in the country.
For complete results, read more.
The U18s, as expected, faced stiff competition. The Alberta team held their own, competing with determination, posting game wins and showing determination. For Coach Jordan Sluchinski and athletes Emily Niers and Grace Bell, this was their first time at Nationals.
Hana Gamracy made it to the quarterfinals in the U18 consolations and lost to the #2 seed. She finished in the top 12.
Alexandra Jewitt and Emily Niers also had strong tournaments each finishing in the top 24. Grace Bell came up against teammate Alex Jewitt in the first round consolations and lost in a hard-fought match.
Joshua Oboniye (who also played U16 Nationals) and teammate Liam Spiers each had a win. Tyler Sinclair and Goran Vukovic made it to the quarterfinals where they lost to the team who went on to win the championship.
For complete results, read more.
Picture below: Alberta’s U18 team with Coach Jordan Sluchinski (bottom left).
That’s a wrap for the Junior Indoor National competitions. A job well done to the Alberta juniors who are competing well at the national level. I see these young athletes are back practicing as hard as ever. The Outdoor Junior Nationals will be held in August, and a plethora of other tournaments are scheduled between now and then.
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