Four Whitehorse tennis players travelled to the Emerald City last weekend and not one left without a check in the win column.
Aline Halliday, Alex Roberts, Ewan Halliday and Matthias Hoenisch all scored wins at the Tennis Center Sand Point Fall Challenger in Seattle, Wash.
It was the first time Tennis Yukon brought players to a tournament in the Lower 48.
“I was really pleased because we haven’t ever been down to a tournament in Seattle before,” said Tennis Yukon president Stacy Lewis. “They have ‘challenger’ and ‘champs’ and we went to a challenger tournament.
“You never know if it’s a good level for you or not, but I think everyone getting one win shows it was the right tournament for us.”
Hoenisch, who played in the large U14 boys singles division, played the most matches of the Yukon squad.
The 14-year-old lost his opening match 6-4, 6-0 to Alexander Surkov, who reached the semifinal.
“Although I lost the first match, I was really happy with it because the guy I lost to ended up going to the (semifinal),” said Hoenisch. “He was a really good player, but everything was working really well for me: my serves, my grounds strokes. Everything was going quite well.”
Hoenisch then won his next two matches before losing in the consolation semifinal 8-3 to the division’s third seed.
“I thought it was really good,” said Hoenisch. “It was a challenger tournament, not the state championship, so it meant that they were all players trying to get to the championships. So they were at our level … They were all trying hard to get to the higher level, just like us.”
Aline Halliday, who is the currently the Yukon women’s champ, played in the U18 girls division.
She won her first match 6-3, 6-4 to advance to the semifinal where she lost 6-0, 6-3 to top seed Julia Mirick.
Roberts cruised through his first match in U16 boys, winning 6-1, 6-3, but then lost his Round of 16 match 6-2, 6-2 to Jake Goldstein-Street, who made the final.
Ewan Halliday also made the Round of 16, but in U14 boys singles. He won 7-5, 6-2 in the Round of 32, and then dropped his next one 6-2, 7-5 to second seed Marcus Tang.
Following the singles, Ewan and Hoenisch teamed up in U14 boys singles, but were ousted with a tight 8-6 pro-set loss in the first round.
“We all found it impressive, how hospitable the players were to the people visiting from out of Washington,” said Hoenisch. “Sometimes, when we go down to B.C., there’s a lot of trash talk, just mouthing of between players. But everyone in this tournament was really, really nice.”
Tennis Yukon could end up making more trips to Seattle in the future since Alaskan clubs have been downsized over the last year or so, said Lewis. Anchorage closed one of two indoor tennis facilities and Juneau has gone from five indoor courts down to two.
“We had a great seat sale with Air North and we got down there for basically the same price as four of five days in Juneau,” said Lewis. “We were in Seattle in eight hours; it takes 12 hours to get to Juneau.”
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