Our Canadian athletes had a successful few days at the ITF Junior Tennis Competition in Montreal, with all four teams qualifying for the Finals later on in the year. The boys’ and girls’ Junior Fed Cup, Davis Cup and WTJ teams will compete to represent their country and for a chance to be crowned champions.
The Junior Fed Cup capped off their tournament with another perfect day, winning all three of their matches against the United States. The Canadian team thus went undefeated during the event. Annabelle Xu got the team off to a good start, playing against Charlotte Owensby. There were a lot of nervous points at the beginning of the match, but Xu played much more relaxed and got the win by a score of 6-3, 6-0. Mélodie Collard followed-up with a victory of her own, over hard-hitting left-handed Robin Montgomery. Despite her opponent’s aggressive playing style, Collard managed to hang in the long rallies and get the 6-4, 6-2 win. She then teamed up with Marina Stakusic to take the doubles match 6-3, 6-3 over Owensby and Ellie Coleman.
The boy’s Junior Davis Cup team had a tougher time against the powerhouse Americans. Playing in one of the longest matches of his career against Dali Blanch, Maxime St-Hilaire was on the court for a little over three hours. After taking a tight opening set, the Quebec native lost the lead that he held for most of the second set at the end, as his opponent forced a decider. St-Hilaire was unable to overcome Blanch, eventually falling 5-7, 7-5, 7-6(3). Marko Stakusic was hoping to level the score as he was taking on Martin Damm. While the Canadian played passionately throughout the tournament, he fell short against the very tall American by a score of 7-5, 6-4. St-Hilaire and Jaden Weekes came up just short of notching a point for their team in doubles, losing 6-7(0), 6-4, 10-7 to Blanch and Damm.
The Under 14 girls were looking to end their successful week on a high note. Kayla Cross got her third singles win of the event, defeating Qavia Lopez by a score of 6-2, 6-3. Her compatriot Victoria Mboko had the tough task of facing Clervie Ngounoue. After dropping the opening set, she rallied to try to even out the score in the scone. Despite putting up a valiant effort, she fell by a score of 6-3, 6-4. Cross and Mboko notched the win for their win in doubles, overcoming Lopez and partner Tsehay Driscoll 4-6, 7-5, 10-7.
The Under 14 boys also experienced some difficulties against the United States. Aleksanda Mitric was defeated by Learner Tien by a score of 7-5, 6-4. The Canadian No. 1 Stewart Aronson was hoping to get the first point for his team as he was taking on Kyle Kang. The match ended in dramatic fashion after over three hours of play, as a tiebreak was needed. It was Kang who got the better of Aronson by a score of 6-7(3), 6-3, 7-6(4). In doubles Aronson and Mitric teamed up, but were unsuccessful against Kang and Tien, falling 6-3, 6-4.
Despite a tougher day overall for Canada, out teams’ cumulative performances helped propel them to the year-end finals.
*Feature photo: Pascal Ratthé