Alberta U12 and U16 Juniors achieved impressive results at the Rogers Junior Indoor Nationals. Take note, Alberta is coming on at the national level! At the U12 nationals in Calgary, two Alberta players made the top 8 (third and fifth place), the Alberta girls doubles team took 3/4 place, AND the girls team overall came second to Ontario!
At the U16 nationals in Montreal, one Alberta player took third place, and another made the finals in doubles. Let’s take a closer look at these great results by our Alberta juniors.
(Photo above: Alberta’s Mia Kupres (right) faces Jade Bui in the semi-final. Photo by Christian Blouin)
The Alberta U12 team and Coach Carson Bell cheered on two Alberta players at the final day of competition in Calgary. Nawal Youssef (seeded 9th) and Gianna Oboniye (seeded 13th) had impressive runs.
On the third day of the seven-day event, Gianna Oboniye scored an upset victory over the number one seed, Scarlett Nicholson. It was a three-set match, with Oboniye storming back after a first-set loss to win the match (2-6, 6-4, 6-4). Oboniye and Nicholson faced off a second time in the quarter-finals. The tables turned and Oboniye lost 6-2, 6-4. Overall, Oboniye won 6 of 7 singles matches in the tournament and was the only player to defeat the tournament winner. And she placed 3/4 in doubles with partner Nawal Youssef.
Nawal Youssef (seeded 9th) earned an amazing third place finish, a fantastic result. She earned her spot in the top sixteen after a hard-fought match against the number 5 seed, coming back from a first set loss for the win (3-6, 6-3, 6-0). Then Youssef moved on to the round of 8 by defeating the #9 seed, 6-3, 6-3. Next a hard-fought win over the #3 seed (6-4, 7-5) and she was on to the semi-finals. There her winning streak ended with a 6-3, 6-0 loss to the eventual tournament winner, Scarlett Nicholson. Youssef’s star continued to shine as she and partner Gianna Oboniye won the 3/4 spot in the U12 Junior Girls Doubles event.
The first highlight of the U16 national competition in Montreal (March 21-28) was Mia Kupres and her third place finish. This was a spectacular result for two reasons: Kupres was an unseeded entry, and she is still eligible for U14 competition.
Mia beat the 9th, 3rd & 5th seeds en route to reaching the semi final where she lost a close match to the number 1 seed and eventual champion, Jade Bui. She got a walkover in the 3/4 playoff, but this was still an amazing achievement for her, especially as she is still U14. Mia also reached the semi finals in doubles with her partner Reece Carter (from Ontario).
(Coach Tom McLean)
Two of Mia’s matches went to three sets (versus the #9 and the #3). By the end of the eight-day tournament she had played 98 games, won 53 of them, and secured third place in Canada. As a follow up to this performance at the U16s, she will compete at the U14s next week in Vancouver.
The second highlight at the U16 Rogers Junior Indoor Nationals was the high level of play by Alberta junior Shourya Verma and his partner Tim Zelikovsky from Ontario in the boys doubles. They edged out the number 1 seeds in the quarter finals in a tight tiebreaker (2-6, 7-5, 10-8). Then they went on to win their semi-final match with a convincing performance (6-2, 6-4). In the final, they faced the number 4 seed and ended up with a national second place finish (6-2, 6-1).
In other team results, Hana Gamracy and Alexandra Jewitt both made it through qualifers to participate in the main draw. And Karin Hamilton had a 3-3 win-loss record, making it through to the 6th day of the eight-day tournament.
From left to right: Hana Gamracy, Emma Rutherford, Karin Hamilton, Joshua Oboniye, Shourya Verma, Martyna Ostrzygalo, Mia Kupres, Ethan Obonyie & Alexandra Jewitt.
Still to come, the U14 and U18 Rogers Junior Indoor Nationals will be held April 1-6 in Vancouver (U14), and March 31-April 7 in Markham Ontario (U18). Good luck to the Alberta teams!
“I love the winning, I can take the losing, but most of all I love to play”. – Boris Becker