An up-and-coming junior star was among the players capturing big wins on Friday, as the field is starting to narrow down at the Birmingham National Wheelchair Tennis Championships after another busy day at the UBC Tennis Centre in Vancouver.
Seventeen-year-old Tomas Bourassa is the story of the men’s tournament so far as he picked up two huge wins to advance into the championship draw. First, the junior world No. 17 eliminated the top seed in Group C and fellow British Columbian Richard Peter 6-3, 6-4. Then, he officially secured first place with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Kyle Thompson to maintain his undefeated standing.
“This is the first time I’ve beaten Richard in a match so I feel good about that, I lost to him last year here,” Bourassa said. “It’s a pretty big win for me. It’s exciting to move on. I’m looking forward to playing all the big names, we’ll see how it goes.”
Also earning spots in the five-man draw for the title are No. 1 seed Philippe Bedard, who has lost just one game in three matches so far, No. 2 seed Jean-Paul Melo, and No. 5 seeds Bernard Lapointe and Jean-Francois Sylvestre.
Another big victory in the women’s tournament saw Kirsten Sharp oust No. 1 seed Tara Llanes 6-3, 7-5 in a very hard-fought duel.
“It’s always tough playing Tara,” Sharp said. “We go back and forth and have very long matches. But it’s also always good because while they’re not easy, I think I stay focused and I was able to pull it out.”
Combined with her opening win on Thursday, Sharp now secures first place in her group and moves on to the semifinals where she awaits the winner of Maude Jacques versus Natalia Lanucha.
“I’m really happy that I move on and now I have to play the second place out of the other pool,” she said. “There’s four really good players, really tough players here, and I’ll play one of them tomorrow. So I will re-set, get some good rest and get some good focus again tomorrow.”
Yuka Chokyu has secured first place in the other women’s group thanks to a 6-1, 6-1 triumph over defending champion Jacques. Chokyu, a former world No. 6, will face either Llanes or Megan Smith in the semifinals.
The quad division is already down to the final four, with No. 1 and 2 seeds Rob Shaw and Gary Luker now one win away from a re-match for the title. They both sewed up first-place finishes in their respective groups on Friday – Shaw posted a 6-4, 6-0 win over Mika Ishikawa and Luker winning 6-2, 6-2 over Mitch McIntyre.
The semifinals will see Shaw take on McIntyre and Luker face off against Sarah Hunter. Shaw is the defending champion, having ousted 2014 winner Luker in the final last year.
For the complete updated draws and schedule of play, please click here. The Birmingham National Wheelchair Tennis Championships, one of the biggest and most important tournaments held in Canada each year, run from October 27-30 at the UBC Tennis Centre in Vancouver. Admission is free for all to come and watch some high-quality wheelchair tennis.