||Photo : Jon Benjamin

The final day of the Odlum Brown VanOpen saw both the Women’s and Men’s Singles Champion crowned as Great Britain’s Heather Watson and Lithuania’s Ricardas Berankis emerged victorious. It was a sold out crowd at the scenic Hollyburn Country Club in West Vancouver and the fans got quite a show with two close matches finishing out a busy week of elite tennis action.

For the 4th time in tournament history, a British player has won the Women’s singles title. Guernsey born Heather Watson joins Anne Keothavong (2007) and  two-time winner Johanna Konta (2013, 2015) as a VanOpen champion. Watson was a 2018 finalist, but was ousted by Japan’s Misaki Doi in the final match. “Walking through the club every day you see all the winners on the wall and I just missed out last year and it’s been a big motivation of mine to get my picture on the wall so I’m very happy about that.” Watson said in her post-match interview.

The 27 year-old Brit had to work for every point against a very talented opponent in Sara Sorribes Tormo. The No. 3 seed lead 5-1 in the first set and held set point 3 times but Watson defended each one before storming back to win 6 straight games and take the set. Watson continued her momentum into the second set, winning the first two games and putting the pressure on Sorribes Tormo. The Spaniard answered the call, rallying back from 4-2 down to tie the set. However, Watson was just too good on this day; she won 4 break points in the second set, outlasting Sorribes Tormo and clinching the VanOpen crown by a score of 7-5, 6-4.

This is Watson’s second ITF title in 2019 after going three years without winning a singles crown. Watson did not drop a set this week at the VanOpen or during her previous title win at the W60 Fukuoka tournament in Japan.  The talented Brit won’t get much time to enjoy her VanOpen victory as she now heads to New York to compete in US Open qualifiers with her first match set to take place on August 20th.

Photo : Jon Benjamin

The Men’s Singles Final was a back-and-forth duel that lasted just over 2 hours. Lithuania’s Ricardas Berankis stormed out of the gates, taking the first set of the match 6-3 over Taiwanese player Jason Jung. After a quick first set, It looked as if the top-seeded Berankis would cruise to victory. However, Jung stayed patient and found his serve, racking up 5 aces and winning the second set 7-5. Just when it seemed the momentum had shifted in Jung’s favour, Berankis found another gear, converting 80% of his service points in the third set. The Lithuanian won the set 6-4 thereby clinching the 2019 title.

Jung put forward a valiant effort during his first appearance on VanOpen Center Court since 2014. As he noted in his post-match speech, Jung last stepped onto Center Court to face the man who handed him his 2nd place plaque, then player and now VanOpen Tournament Director, Rik de Voest. Jung will next play at the US Open Qualifiers on August 20th.

2019 champion, Berankis, wins his 4th ATP Challenger title of the year and 2nd on Canadian soil as he also won the Challenger Banque Nationale in Drummondville, Quebec. The veteran Lithuanian now has 12 career ATP Challenger titles. He will look to carry the momentum gained from the VanOpen into the US Open Qualifiers in New York this week.

We hope you enjoyed following along with the incredible tennis action from the Odlum Brown VanOpen, including the impressive run to the semifinals by Canadian Leylah Annie Fernandez. This year’s tournament has come to an end, but there is still plenty more tennis coming your way as US Open Qualifying kicks off this week!

(Feature photo : Jon Benjamin)