Matthias Hoenisch chases down a shot during the men’s singles final of the Yukon Tennis Championship at the Mount McIntyre courts on Aug. 25. (Tom Patrick/Yukon News)

Friends turn opponents at Yukon Tennis Championships

Junior Ewan Halliday wins second straight men’s singles title

Whitehorse’s Ewan Halliday and Matthias Hoenisch have seen a lot of each other lately.

They’re friends, schoolmates, coworkers and both played on Yukon’s male soccer team — and roomed together — at the 2017 Canada Summer Games in Winnipeg a few weeks ago.

Instead of being on the same side of the soccer pitch, they were on opposite side of the net in the men’s singles final at the Yukon Tennis Championships on Aug. 25 at Mount McIntyre.

“I feel like I’m just cooling down from the butterflies that were in my stomach,” said Halliday. “I think the whole game I was nervous, he was nervous — we both knew what was at stake and both of us were focused, not on the trophy, but each individual point.”

Halliday, 16, captured his second straight men’s singles title with a 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 win over Hoenisch, 17.

Hoenisch took the first set largely because Halliday posted multiple double faults each service game. Hoenisch took a 3-2 lead in the first set, breaking Halliday’s serve with the help of three doubles.

“Today my serve wasn’t what I’d like it to be and that happens, you have to adapt in that situation,” said Halliday. “After that first set I thought to myself, ‘You need to wake up, Ewan. How are you going to beat this guy?’ That kickstarted my motivation.

“In the second and third set I started to think if I wait and be patient, he’s eventually going to wear me down,” he added. “So I started to be more aggressive, started volleying more and coming to the net.”

Halliday advanced to the final with a semifinal win over Shahid Syed, who he beat in last year’s final to become the youngest player ever to win the title at 15.

Matthias reached the final with a straight-set win over Halliday’s older brother Kieran.

“In my match against Kieran yesterday I hit more defence, more consistent, just try to make him make errors,” Hoenisch. “Against Ewan I knew from personal experience that he’s going to hit enough winners that doesn’t really work for me. So I was hitting more offensively in the first set, to try to move him, force him to make errors by hitting hard.”

Ewan Halliday and Hoenisch helped their St. Michael’s University School, based in Victoria, produce its best-ever finish at the B.C. High School Tennis AA Championships this past May. Both logged multiple wins to help the school reach the final.

They also worked together at Tennis Yukon’s summer camps the previous six weeks leading up to last week’s final.

“We’ve been at the courts seeing each other all summer for eight hours a day,” said Hoenisch.

“There was a bit of trash talk in the coaching time today. We’d play a little mini court game with the kids and he’d be trash talking and I’d be going back at him.”

Carly Bohman and Kieran Biertsch won the men’s/mixed doubles final 6-0, 6-1 over the Halliday brothers on Aug. 28.

The doubles champs are both new to Whitehorse this season and have impressive tennis resumes. Bohman played for Temple University and Biertsch played for University of British Columbia.

Laurie Drummond and daughter Marisa Johnson went undefeated in the three-team round robin to win the women’s doubles title last week. Together the mother-daughter team won the title three straight years between 2010 and 2012.

Bohman and Sheila Senger placed second.

This year’s championships did not include a women’s singles division.

Tennis Yukon will keep the nets up at the Mount McIntyre courts until the end of September and will start indoor lessons at Yukon College and the Canada Games Centre in a couple weeks.

Contact Tom Patrick at tomp@yukon-news.com