Tennis Yukon had its strongest showing at the Alaska State Junior Championships in Anchorage over the weekend.
Yukon juniors picked up wins and even took in a title at the indoor, hard court championship, the largest junior tournament on the Alaska Tennis Association’s calendar.
Representing the Yukon were Khang Pham, Ewan Halliday, Alex Roberts, and Andrew Roberts.
Pham, 17, competed in two U18 competitions, one of which he won.
Pham downed two Anchorage players – one in straight sets, the other in a third-set tiebreaker – to capture the U18 Challenger division.
“I was at the Mayor’s Cup in May down in Anchorage, two years ago,” said Pham. “I did really bad, so I’m really happy with how I did this time.
“Overall I think I played a lot better than I usually do in tournaments because I usually get nervous. But I played really good this time and I’m surprised at the outcome. I learned a lot about setting goals, from my coach.”
In the main U18 draw, the U18 Champs, Pham was knocked out in the first round and lost in the consolation final to Jeremy Weaver of Fairbanks.
Halliday also took in a pair of wins while playing in the U12 division. The 11-year-old won two and lost one in the round-robin to be the division’s runner-up.
Halliday then beat teammate Andrew to reach the semifinal of the U14 boys draw where he lost to Justin Wolfe of Anchorage.
His results were better than he expected, he said.
“I feel really good, actually,” said Halliday. “I was quite nervous going into the tournament because I had never been to Anchorage before and they said they had good players. I’m happy with how I played.
“I got a lot of experience from it and getting to watch the other guys play was really fun.”
Despite being just nine years old, Andrew took a win in the U14 draw, beating Anchorage’s Nicholai Benko in the quarterfinal. He then dropped his next match to Halliday in the semi, forcing a third-set tiebreaker.
“I feel like I did pretty well,” said Andrew. “I didn’t think I would get as close to beating Ewan because he’s two years older than me.”
Andrew picked up a win in the U12 round-robin, defeating Alaska’s Spirit Pretlow. There, too, he had a close loss against his teammate Halliday.
“It was a long match and it was very fun,” said Andrew. “It was probably the most fun one because it was very evenly matched.”
Alex Roberts, 13, had a rough go of it in his divisions. In U14 boys he lost 6-4, 6-3 to Ryan Casey of Eagle River, Alaska. In U16 boys he was ousted by Anchorage’s Christian Morgan after taking the opening set in a tiebreaker. Alex then dropped his consolation matches.
“They were all really close matches, but I wasn’t able to win any of them,” said Alex.
“My U16 match was especially hard because it went on for about two-and-a-half hours and went down to a tiebreaker – the pressure was on me.”
Alex went undefeated in four matches to win his second junior title at the Yukon Territorial Tennis Championships in August. At the Yukon championships, he also became the youngest player ever to win the men’s doubles title, doing so with coach and men’s singles champ Jan Polivka.
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