The Rob Bell Memorial (Open 350) tournament ran June 7-10 at the Saville Tennis Centre in Edmonton. This 20-year old tournament saw over 100 players enjoy the ying and the yang (including Oscar Yang at his best) of a summer tennis weekend in Alberta’s northern capital. Everyone had a chance to shine, even if just for a single perfect point landed under the late northern sunset.
The event offered up a tennis potpourri. We saw 3.0 to open levels; doubles, mixed doubles and singles; fun and friendly as well as fierce and competitive matches. Mother nature came to play (was she registered?), but organizers kept to their game plan. Temperatures ranged from 8 to 30 degrees (C) over the four days. Brilliant hot sun turned to drizzling rain turned to gale force winds.
Players reflected the wide appeal of the game of tennis. We saw a mother and son doubles team (Liisa and Liam Wheadon); a husband and wife doubles team (Kristen Mosdell and David Mckinnon); a fearless over-65-year old taking on a talented 13-year old junior (Ellen Toth and Lucia Lipon); and we saw a seasoned University of Hawaii player taking on a 17-year old who is hoping for a university tennis offer (Eric Kenneth versus Oscar Yang in the MS Open final).
The tournament was a fine reflection of “tennis for the masses”. This was the philosophy embraced by Rob Bell more than twenty years ago, adopted from his California coach Vic Braden. For more on Rob Bell, the tournament’s namesake who passed away in 1998, see the article: “Rob Bell–True Alberta Tennis Legend.”
“Rob adopted Vic’s philosophy of teaching tennis to the masses and helping them enjoy the game at their level – whatever that was.” (from the article referred to above).
The Chapman sisters, Samantha and Emma, both won their categories in displays of hard-hitting, confident tennis. Samantha took the Open final 6-1, 6-2 over University of Alberta Panda Alina Jurca. Emma out-shot Lucia Lipon in a 6-0, 6-0 final in the 5.0 category. The Chapman tennis family, including third sister Paige, has been prominent in Alberta’s competitive tennis scene for many years
Oscar Yang is having a fantastic year in tennis as he prepares for a college tennis career. He faced Edmonton native Eric Kenneth who has been at the University of Hawaii playing tennis for several years after attending tennis prep school in California. Oscar Yang proved that he belongs with the college group in a decisive 6-1, 6-2 win over Eric. (Eric was also runner up at last year’s Rob Bell tournament). Earlier this year Oscar also won the Saville Indoor Champs MNP Provincial, U18.
University of Alberta Golden Bears Daniel Henschel and Jeff James showed grit and persistence to narrowly defeat the experienced team of Tristan Gilbertson and Eric Kenneth, 3-6, 6-3, 10-5 for the Mens Open Doubles title. Daniel and Jeff also shared the 3/4 placement in the Mens Open event.
University of Alberta Pandas Alina Jurca and Kristina Sanjevic demonstrated why they are national champions in their defeat of Samantha Chapman and Katie Johnson, 6-1, 6-4 in the Women’s Doubles Open.
WS 3.0. Heather Bauman (1), Katherine Nilsson (2), Meghan Niekamp (3)
MS 3.0. Ned Onwugbufor (1), Mike Wai Sing Yee (2), Randy Parish (3/4), Liam Wheadon (3/4)
WS 4.0. Liisa Wheadon (1), Biyu Liang (2), Susan Wells (3)
MS 4.0. Yan Picard (1), Tyler Fiege (2), Thuy Thanh Cao (3/4), Xerondrino Menor (3/4)
WD 4.0. Megan Ploit and Susan Wells (1), Amanda Richard and Rhonda Woychuk (2), Janelle Gilbert and Laura Hill (3/4), Lesley Kittlitz and Mandelle Williams (3/4)
MD 4.0. Chad and Mitchell Frey (1), Damien Parmar and Jon Vandenbrink (2), Tyler Fiege and Blake Mcwilliam (3/4), Bryan Daniel Sluggett and Dan Townsend (3/4)
WS 5.0. Emma Chapman (1), Lucia Lipon (2), Lydia Samis (3/4), Ellen Toth (3/4)
MS 5.0. Ivan Quintero (1), Jonathan Pearson (2), Dan Townsend (3/4), Hunter Mailo (3/4)
MD 5.0. Gun Woo Jun and Taeoak Kwon (1), Jaime Cepeda and Genigno Rojas-Unate (2), Alek Salwierz and Derek Van Den Berg (3)
XD 5.0. Yan Picard and Biyu Liang (1), Ding Zhang and Kyoko Watanabe (2), Rod Sedrovic and Rachel Milner (3/4), Preston Eshenko and Ellen Toth (3/4)
WS Open. Samantha Chapman (1), Alina Jurca (2), Jessica Kreutz (3/4), Eve Hobart (3/4)
WD Open. Alina Jurca and Kristina Sanjevic (1), Samantha Chapman and Katie Johnson (2), Eve Hobart and Riyo Tomita (3/4), Emma Chapman and |Jessica Kreutz (3/4)
MS Open. Oscar Yang (1), Eric Kenneth (2), Daniel Henschel (3/4), Jeff James (3/4)
MD Open. Daniel Henschel and Jeff James (q), Tristan Gilbertson and Eric Kenneth (2), Tobiasz Strozyk and Trevor Tham (3/4), Vuk Radovic and Sidney Yap (3/4).
Click here for more tournament results.
Photos below: Tournament organizer extraordinaire Andrea Jones is unfazed by rain delays. Next photo: Alina Jurca (left) and Samantha Chapman (right), WS Open finalists.