Justin Boulais readying serve

Photo: Sarah-Jade Champagne

The Edmonton National Bank Challenger crowned its first-ever champions on Sunday, as the first edition of the tournament came to an end.

Held out of the Royal Glenora Club in Edmonton, Alberta, the combined ITF $25,000 event saw Canadian Justin Boulais and Australia’s Arina Rodionova take home the top honours in singles. 

Boulais, 22, who recently represented Canada at the Pan American Games in Santiago, Chile, entered the week as the sixth-seeded player in the men’s draw. He cruised through his first two matches with wins over compatriot Marko Stakusic and American Colin Markes.

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In the quarter-finals, Boulais defeated top-seeded Aziz Dougaz of Tunisia 7-6(4), 6-4 before beating another fellow Canadian, Newmarket’s Liam Draxl, by a score of 6-4, 6-1 in the semi-finals.

In the finals, Boulais faced Great Britain’s Giles Hussey – the tournament’s No. 5 seed. Despite dropping the opening set, Boulais came back to claim the second set in a tiebreaker. The Canadian carried that momentum into the deciding set, winning the contest 3-6, 7-6(1), 6-0.

With the win, Boulais now has three career titles – two in singles and one in doubles. His opponent, Hussey, wouldn’t leave empty-handed, as he claimed the doubles trophy with South African partner Vasilios Caripi.

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For the fifth time this season, 33-year-old Rodionova claimed a singles title at an ITF event. Key wins en route to the final included victories over former World No. 29 Urszula Radwanska of Poland and fourth-seeded Justina Mikulskyte of Lithuania.

Rodionova, who was the top-seeded player in the women’s draw, had no issues in the final, ousting No. 2-seed Lesley Pattinama Kerkhove of the Netherlands 6-3, 7-5.

In the doubles final, Canadian Kayla Cross and American Liv Hovde took down Allura Zamarripa and Maribella Zamarripa – twin sisters from the United States – by a score of 4-6, 6-4, 10-7.