Mia Kupres fought off the challengers to win the U14 Outdoor Junior Nationals held August 27-Sept. 2 in Mont Tremblant, Quebec.   She commanded the spotlight by winning both the singles and doubles events, with partner Reece Carter.  These two wins top-off her first place finish in March at the U14 Indoor Nationals, making three U14 national titles for Mia this year.

The list of past U14 national champions includes Canadian pros Eugenie Bouchard, Gabriela Dabrowski, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Vasek Pospisil.  Now Mia’s name is added as the 2018 U14 Champion, and her dream of playing professional tennis is within reach.

Coach Carson Bell of the Saville Community Sports Centre has worked with Mia since she was eight years old, and had these comments on Mia’s success:

“I feel like it is never easy to defend the National title after winning it as you come into it with everyone wanting to beat you.  I think it was great for her to prove that the indoor championship wasn’t just a good week.  In addition I’m sure the doubles title meant a lot to her as she and Reece had lost in 2 other National finals.

It has been great to see her maturity and mental game develop on court.  Mia has been very professional over the last year dealing with pressure matches.  This has allowed her to play tactically strong tennis and bring out a high level of play in these situations.

She has really improved her game in all areas.  She made some technical adjustments to her forehand in the spring, has been doing extra off court training and has made big jumps in her tactical decision making and emotional control on court.  I would say she has worked hardest on her reactions after points.  The big improvements in this area even led to her winning the sportsmanship award at Indoor Nationals.”

Complete tournament results are here.

Photo below:  Mia Kupres receives her first place award, U14 Outdoor National Championships, Singles, with runner up, Victoria Mboko.

How The Tournament Unfolded

At the Indoor Nationals in March in Vancouver, Mia was the fifth seed, so her first place finish there was somewhat of an upset.  So the Outdoor Nationals in August/September had a different feel because she was the first seed, and the one to beat.

Mia played seven singles matches and four doubles matches over the eight-day tournament, winning every match.  In her singles semi-final she went three sets with the fifth seed, Kayla Cross.  After losing the second set tiebreaker, Mia finally took the lead in the third set tiebreaker winning 6-3, 6-7 (2), 7-6 (0).

The next day in the singles final she met the third seed Victoria Mboko in what turned out to be another close three set match.  Mia started off strong in the first set winning 6-1.  Her momentum wained in the second set with a 2-6 loss, forcing a third set.   With both players settled into their top form, Mia eventually took command of the third set winning 6-3.

The final doubles match also went three sets with Mia and partner Reece Carter (seeded #2) taking on the #1 seeds, Sarah Liu and Annabelle Xu.  After losing the first set 4-6, Kupres/Carter swept the second set 6-1, then held their nerves in the tiebreaker winning 10-7.

Photo below:  2018 U14 Junior Outdoor Nationals, Doubles Champions, Reece Carter and Mia Kupres.

Other Results

Martyna Ostrzygalo was 3/4 in doubles with partner Victoria Mboko and came 8th in singles.

Joshua Oboniye was 3/4 in doubles with partner Kilian Jean-Mairet and was received the Sportsmanship Award for the tournament.  Joshua played in the singles championship flight as the #9 seed and ended up 7th overall.  He had a strong 6-2 win-loss record in singles losing only to the #1 and #3 seeds.

Alexia Jacobs had a strong tournament playing in the championship flight, ending sixth overall as an unseeded player, with a 6-2 win-loss record in singles, and 1-1 win-loss in doubles.

Hailey Murphy defeated the ninth seed and took the fifth seed to three sets, ending with a 4-3 win-loss record in singles in Flight #2.

Photo below:  Joshua Oboniye with his Sportsmanship Award.


Interview with Mia Kupres

Mia trains at the Saville Community Sports Centre in Edmonton, Alberta.

Q1:   How does it feel to be the top 14-year old tennis player in Canada, twice in a row?

It’s a great feeling to win this event for the second time, and to see that my hard work is paying off.

Q2:  What was the biggest challenge you faced in this tournament?

The biggest challenge was the pressure of being the top seed. It is always easier to play as an underdog.

Q3:  What are your plans now?  Will you start playing more Junior ITF tournaments?

For this year I plan to start playing Grade 3 & 4 ITF tournaments.

Q4:  What would you like to achieve as a tennis player?

My dream is to play professional tennis.

Q5:  What do you like best about tennis, and about being a tennis player?

I enjoy everyday practice and pushing myself to improve. My favourite part of being a tennis player is being able to travel, see the world and meet new people.

Photo below:  Mia Kupres and longtime coach, Carson Bell.


Onward and Upward

Mia’s three wins this year at nationals (singles and doubles at the Outdoor Nationals; and singles at the Indoor Nationals) make six firsts in total for Alberta Juniors at nationals in 2018:

  • Cleeve Harper won the doubles in the U18, the sportsmanship award, and came 4th in singles at nationals.
  • Gianna Oboniye and Nawal Youssef won the girls doubles U12 at outdoor nationals.   Gianna came 3rd in singles U12.  Nawal came 5th in singles U12.
  • Kai Baerg and Keegan Rice won the boys doubles U12 Outdoor Nationals.

That’s a wrap for the outdoor junior national tennis championships for 2018–U12, U14, U16, and U18.  What a run for Alberta’s national junior players.  Well done players, coaches, parents, and tournament organizers.  Alberta juniors are making their mark on the national scene.

For fall tournaments see Tennis Canada’s tournament schedule here.  Tennis Alberta tournaments are listed here.

Enjoy the last of the outdoor season and get your indoor plans in play!

Contact me with comments or ideas for articles at susan.wells@tennisalberta.com.