Photo: Pascal Ratthé||Photo: Pascal Ratthé/Tennis Canada|
The Canadian teams almost went undefeated in Day 1 action at the ITF Junior Tennis Competition in Montreal. All four teams were facing off against Mexico in the opening round, a nation that represented a challenge for our players.
The Junior Fed Cup team made a clean sweep of their opponents. Up first was Annabelle Xu who had a strong start to her match against Alejandra Cruz. Play got tighter in the second as her opponent started hitting bigger balls, but Xu managed to close out the win by a score of 6-2, 6-4. Having already won 3 titles on the ITF junior circuit since the start of the year, Mélodie Collard was coming into the competition playing some of her best tennis. She demonstrated her skill by putting on a dominant performance in the second singles match against Julia Garcia, applying a lot of pressure to her crafty left-handed opponent. Her athleticism and power brought her to a 6-4, 6-1 victory. Collard teamed up with Marina Stakusic for the doubles, battling out a tight 6-3, 6-7(6), 10-6 win over Cruz and Garcia.
On the boys’ side, the Junior Davis Cup team got off to a great start, putting up two important singles victories. Maxime St-Hilaire bounced back after dropping the opening set of his match against Emiliano Aguilera, taking the second set thanks to a crucial break. In the decider, the Canadian took control of the match, notching a 3-6, 6-4, 6-0 win. St-Hilaire’s victory seemed to relieve the pressure a bit on Marko Stakusic, who was in action for the second singles match, as he raced out to a 6-0 lead over Edson Sanchez. He capped off the victory for his team, defeating his opponent by a score of 6-0, 6-4. With the match-up already won, the Canadian pair of Stakusic and Jaden Weekes dropped the doubles match 7-5, 6-3 to Aguilera and Miguel Angel Alonso.
“We needed to get on the board quickly in order to give ourselves a chance to qualify for the World Group. It was a huge win for the boys today,” stated Junior Davis Cup Captain Martin Laurendeau.
In the Under 14 categories, the girls team lead by Captain Heidi El Tabakh put on strong performances over Mexico, as Kayla Cross and Victoria Mboko got the wins in singles. Cross made quick work of her Natalia Castaneda in the opening singles match, conceding only 2 games in her 6-1, 6-1 victory. Mboko fed off of the momentum from her teammate, getting the win by a score of 6-3, 6-4 over Karen Verduzco. The pair then teamed up in doubles to cap off a perfect first day with a 6-1, 6-1 victory over Castaneda and Isabelle Lechuga.
Led by Aleksandar Mitric and Stewart Aronson, the Canadian U14 team got off to a winning start as Mitric got the better of his rival in a tight 3-set battle. He came away with a hard-fought 6-7(6), 6-3, 6-0 victory over Luca Lemaitre. His teammate Aronson, however, was unable build on the lead, falling 6-4, 6-1 to the No. 1 player from Mexico, Rodrigo Pacheco. The duo secured the win for their country thanks to a 6-2, 4-6, 10-6 victory in the decisive doubles match against Lemaitre and Pachecho.
Jr. Fed Cup
Canada vs. El Salvador
Jr. Davis Cup
Canada vs. Costa Rica
Canada vs. Guatemala
Canada vs. Guatemala
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*Feature photo: Pascal Ratthé/Tennis Canada