The SFU invitational wrapped up on Sunday with some high-quality tennis for the event finals, highlighted by the Men’s and Women’s doubles finals. While the University of Alberta had clinched the overall title going into the day, they still faced an SFU opponent in 4 of the 7 event finals. SFU and the U of A have developed a rivalry over the past 2 seasons with some very close team matches at Western Playoffs and Nationals, so these matches definitely weren’t short on intensity.
The day started with the Men’s and Women’s doubles finals. In the Women’s final, top seeds Erika and Britt Voaklander defeated the SFU pair of Jenny Hong and Desiree Lee 4-6, 6-0, 12-10. Despite dropping the first set, the U of A sister’s duo stormed back in the 2nd, forcing a 10 pt supertiebreaker, and eventually taking a nailbiting one. The U of A women have struggled against the SFU women over the past few years, so this was a big boost for their confidence heading into the rest of the season.
The Men’s doubles final was a high-quality and very entertaining match between 2 very talented teams in #1 seeded Gergely Sajdik and Marko Laschuk of the U of A and #2 seeded Nachiket Datar and Nick Tchernikov of SFU. The #1 seeded U of A duo have been dominant in Canadian University play since they arrived in the 2010-2011 season, not losing a single match together. The competitors were very familiar with each other, as Sajdik and Tchernikov were former junior Davis Cup teammates, and had played in the singles event the previous day. Datar and Laschuk had competed at Western Canadian games and Junior nationals in the past as well, and also faced each other in singles play on day 1. Despite dropping the first set 6-1 and down a break at 5-4 in the 2nd, the SFU pair fought back to take the 2nd set 7-5 and the supertiebreaker 10-7. The doubles champions from SFU look to be a force going into the rest of the season and playoffs.
Following 2 highly emotional and intense doubles matches between rivals was very difficult. But #1 seeded Jenny Hong avenged her doubles loss in the Women’s “A” singles final defeating Erika Voaklander 6-1, 6-2. In the Men’s “B” singles final, Tobias Strozyk of the U of A defeated Dmitri Ryssev of SFU 6-3, 6-4 in another close, competitive match. The other 3 finals featured teammates facing each other, as Sajdik defeated Laschuk in the Men’s “A” singles final and Ariel Wiebe defeated her U of A teammate and doubles partner Ambika Mehta in the Women’s “B” singles final. The mixed doubles was an all UBC final with #1 seeds Erin Crockett and Jenni Mclean defeating Ryan Koo and Maria-Luiza Robu.
The final team totals were U of A with 65.5, SFU with 41.5, UBC with 32, and UVIC with 11.5. Despite U of A and SFU coming in as heavy favourites, UBC managed to compete admirably with some strong performances from veteran Crockett and newcomers Koo, Robu, Mclean, Braedon Beaulieau and Alex Mezei. The rest of the season and playoffs look to be very competitive and exciting.