Rob Shaw, Anne-Marie Dolinar and Thomas Venos were the big winners at the Birmingham Nationals last week. The tournament is one of the biggest and most important wheelchair tennis events in Canada. The 2019 edition took place from October 31 to November 3 at the IGA Stadium in Montreal.
For a fifth consecutive year, Rob Shaw dominated the quad singles category, taking home the hardware. The Ontario native captured his first Nationals title back in 2015 when the tournament was disputed in Vancouver. He also won the quad doubles title on four occasions, partnering Gary Luker each time.
For his part, Thomas Venos was crowned champion in both men’s singles and doubles, having reached the final in singles the year before, but falling at the hands of now retired Philippe Bédard. It was the first time that the young British Columbia native had reached the final at a Nationals event. In Sunday’s final, Venos, the tournament’s top seed, got the better of no. 3 Jean-Paul Mélo by a score of 6-3, 6-2. He then partnered up with Barry Henderson to capture the men’s doubles title, overcoming the pair of Yann Mathieu and Jean-Paul Mélo by a score of 6-2, 6-1.
On the women’s side, it was surprise final between Anne-Marie Dolinar and Natalia Lanucha, as they defeated the top two seeds in the semi-finals. Dolinar eliminated no. 2 and defending champion Maude Jacques while Lanucha took out the top seed Kirsten Sharp. In the final, it was the Quebec native Dolinar who got the better of her compatriot to lift the title, thanks to a 6-3, 7-6(6) victory. Lanucha did not go home empty handed, however, as she won the women’s doubles title alongside partner Maude Jacques. They defeated the pair of Dolinar and Gillian Cruz in a tight three-set match by a score of 4-6, 6-2, 10-4.