Seven straight wins have put Whitehorse’s Ewan Halliday in the history books and his name on a trophy already spangled with his last name.
Halliday went undefeated to win the men’s singles title at the Yukon Tennis Championships, which wrapped up Sunday at the Mount McIntyre courts.
At only 15, Halliday is the first junior to win the men’s title since Tennis Yukon was founded in 2007.
“It feels really nice to play against some new players,” said Halliday. “In juniors you’re playing against the same players basically every week, so now that I’ve taken a step up to the men it’s nice, it’s different.”
Halliday went undefeated in six round robin matches over the last month leading up to the final.
He capped the run with a 6-4, 6-1 win over Shahid Syed, the round robin’s second place finisher, in the final Sunday evening.
Halliday picked up his game in the second set, taking a 5-0 lead on an ace.
“I was one set closer to the (title), it gave me a bit of inspiration I guess,” said Halliday.
“I was trying to focus on staying composed,” he added. “It’s hard to stay focused the entire match. There are obviously going to be some points where you waver, but my main goal in this match was to stay composed and stick to what I was trying to do.”
Halliday, who won a Yukon junior singles division in 2013, is not the first junior to win an open singles title. His sister Aline won the 2014 women’s title while still a junior at age 17. Brother Kieran came close in 2011, losing in the men’s singles final at 15. (Pascale Halliday is another sibling etched on the championship trophy, winning a junior division in 2013.)
Ewan and Kieran teamed up to win the men’s doubles title last year, a title Ewan defended this year with fellow junior Matthias Hoenisch. The two juniors went undefeated in two round robin matches for the title. Syed and Michel Gelinas were the runner-ups.
Whitehorse’s Laurie Drummond had a much shorter road to the women’s singles title. With just two players entered, Drummond defeated Kathleen Smith 6-2, 6-1 to win it earlier this month.
Drummond last won the title in 2012, a year in which she claimed all three available titles — women’s singles, women’s doubles and mixed doubles — a third year in a row.
“It was a small field this year due to various factors including a lot of injuries on the women’s side,” said Drummond in an email to the News. “I haven’t played in the championships for a couple of years because I’ve been distracted by running which was new for me. But I now have a hamstring injury so am settling into moderate amounts of both sports.
“Kathleen is just returning to tennis this summer after some years off. I expect heavy competition from her in the future.”
Due to the low number of entrants, this year’s championship did not include women’s doubles, mixed doubles or junior divisions.
Though young, Ewan Halliday has plenty of experience going for him. In addition to tournament play in B.C. and Washington State, Ewan represented Yukon at the 2013 Canada Summer Games in Quebec and the 2015 Western Canada Summer Games in Alberta. Older brother Kieran became the first Yukon tennis player to log a win at the Canada Games in 2009.
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