Written by Kevin Berar

Lower Mainland, BC – The 2017 Silex Canada Junior Indoor Provincial Championships took place this past weekend (Feb 24-26). The U16 tournament was played at Vancouver Lawn Tennis and Badminton Club while the U12’s were played at Richmond Country Club.

The U16 Girls final featured a rematch of last year’s Junior Indoor Provincial U14 final as the top seed Sabrino Alano faced off against number two ranked Leena Bennetto. The two girls are very familiar with each other as Bennetto won last year’s U14 Indoor Junior Provincial final. This year, it was Alano who started out of the gates hot, capturing the first set 6-3. Bennetto would eventually settle in and find her groove with some powerful hitting on both wings, battling back to claim the second and third sets, dropping just one game the rest of the way to claim the championship (3-6, 6-1, 6-0).

“I went into the match really tight, really nervous”, said Bennetto. “I had a lot of pressure and couldn’t really get into the match. I couldn’t hit my shots smoothly so after the first set, I took a break and put all my energy into thinking about the very next point, not the future or the past and that really helped.”

In the U16 Boys final, it was number two ranked Eric Ningyi Zhang squaring off against fourth seed Nicholas Hayton. Hayton, who had a great tournament overall, which included a victory versus top seed Stefan Mitrovic in Saturday night’s semi-final was over-matched by Zhang, who took an early lead and never looked back, capturing the championship in straight sets (6-3, 6-1).

“Nicholas is a tough player,” said Zhang. “He played well and I feel pretty lucky to beat him.”

Zhang had some tough matches throughout the tournament and is grateful for the victory.

“These three-day tournaments are hard,” said Zhang. “I played five sets on Saturday and I could barely move my legs when I woke up this morning.”

The U12 Indoor Provincials at the Richmond Country Club saw both the top seeds win on the boys and girls side as Stewart Bernard Aronson defeated Ronik Sihota while Ella Raine Neilson captured the U12 Girls title with a victory over Isabella Asenov.

It’s another busy weekend for Tennis BC as the Silex Canada Junior Indoor Provincials conclude this weekend (March 3-5) with the U14 and U18 Girls and Boys. The U14 will play at the UBC Tennis Centre while the Burnaby Tennis Club will host the U18 championship. The tennis is free to watch, for more information visit tc.tournamentsoftware.com.