KAMLOOPS, BRITISH COLUMBIA
Given another chance, Yukon’s Kieran Halliday thinks he might have ended an 18-year drought for the territory on the tennis court.
“On another day, I could have beaten him,” said Halliday. “When I won my games I was playing more offensively and hitting my strokes better. And when I got close or ahead, I stayed back too much and didn’t play the same offense.”
In the closest match yet for the Yukon, at the Western Canada Summer Games in Kamloops on Sunday, Halliday gave Saskatchewan’s Alex Waslen a run for his money in a close 7-6 (7-4), 6-3 loss.
“It was good to win some games because those were my first ones of the Westerns this year,” said Halliday.
No doubt. The Yukon team didn’t exactly get to ease into the competition, playing powerhouse BC on Saturday and Alberta Sunday morning before facing Saskatchewan.
In the match, Halliday came back from down 4-1 in the opening set to go up 6-5 before slipping into a tiebreaker. A single break of his serve cost him the second set.
Had he won, it would have been the first time a Yukoner defeated a provincial player since the 1993 Canada Summer Games, coincidently, also in Kamloops.
While there have been some lopsided losses dealt to Yukon’s other players, they have avoided some goose eggs.
Yukon’s mixed doubles team of Aline Halliday and Alex Roberts and men’s doubles team of Trygg Jensen and Khang Pham have picked up games in their straight-set losses.
“All the kids have improved,” said Yukon head coach Jan Polivka. “This is the second Games for Kieran, for the other kids this is their first time at the Games.
“They also had a good match against Alberta, they won a couple games, but again, they could have won more,” he added of the mixed team. “Alex is one of the youngest athletes at the Games. So he can get some experience and come back strong.”
It’s not clear whether he meant Roberts could come back strong on Monday, when the Yukon takes on Manitoba, or in farther in the future. Either works.
While the Western Games are U-14 and U-16 for tennis, the Canada Summer Games at U-16 and U-18, allowing the Yukon to possibly send the same team in two years.
“I’m looking forward to the Canada (Summer) Games in two years in Quebec,” said Kieran Halliday. “I was pretty young (in 2009).”
At the Canada Games in 2009, Keiran Halliday supplied the entire Yukon team with its first victory in PEI – in any sport – defeating an NWT player.
And he could still do it again for this Yukon team as he, and the rest of the Yukon players, take on Manitoba on Monday.
“I’m just going to go out there and try to play my game, try to stay in my head better this time,” said Halliday.
While the Yukon is ineligible for a medal in the team event, due to their insufficient team size, Halliday could still squeak out a bronze if the planets align just right. If Halliday wins on Monday against Manitoba, and that player defeats Waslen on Tuesday, the three will be in a tie and the bronze will go to the player with the best games-won/games-lost record.
See Wednesday’s Yukon News for full coverage.
Contact Tom Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org