VanOpen tennis tournament wraps up with thrilling final matches

It was the continuation of a landmark year for one competitor, and sweet redemption for another, at the conclusion of this year’s Odlum Brown VanOpen tennis tournament in West Vancouver.

Top-seeded Ricardas Berankis of Lithuania continued his banner year, defeating 10th-seeded Jason Jung, who represents Chinese Taipei, 6-3, 5-7, 6-4 during the men’s final held Sunday. In the women’s final, also held Sunday, sixth-seeded Heather Watson of Great Britain bested third-seeded Sara Sorribes Tormo of Spain 7-5, 6-4 to take home the championship hosted at Hollyburn Country Club.

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For Watson, who has been ranked as high as No. 38 in the world, her win this time around was a chance to correct last year’s tough VanOpen finals loss after she fell to Misaki Doi of Japan in three sets.

“Walking through the club every day, you see the winners all on the wall and I just missed out last year. It’s been a big motivation to get my picture on that wall,” Watson stated in a press release issued by Odlum Brown.

In last Sunday’s final, Watson erased a 5-1 deficit in the first set to come back and win the women’s championship. “It was just two sets, but it was by far one of the most physical matches I’ve played (this week) because of how Sara plays, she’s such a fighter, she’s very smart and tricky with her slicing, drop shots and coming to the net,” stated Watson.

Heather Watson of Great Britain took home the top prize in the women’s finals of the Odlum Brown VanOpen tennis tournament over the weekend. - photo supplied Joe Ng

For Berankis, currently ranked No. 76 in the world, he continued his ascendency on the ATP Challenger Tour – a series of international men’s professional tennis tournaments – with his fourth title win following Sunday’s successful outing.

Berankis won the first set 6-3 against Jung in just 27 minutes, however, the following two sets proved more challenging. “In the semis and the second round, I felt like from the first point I was in control. Today in the first set, I was in control, but in the second one it was so-so which I lost 5-7.”  After winning the third and final set 6-4 – and taking home the championship – Berankis became the first competitor to win four ATP Challenger tournaments this year.

Local tennis star Vasek Pospisil returns fire during play last Wednesday. Pospisil was bounced from the VanOpen after being defeated in the second round - photo Mike Wakefield, North Shore News

The Canadian contingent of players did not fare as successfully at this year’s Odlum Brown tournament. Montreal’s Eugenie Bouchard, former No. 5 in the world, lost in her opening-round match last Tuesday, while hometown hero Vasek Pospisil succumbed to Hyeon Chung of Korea in the second round last Wednesday.

This year’s Odlum Brown VanOpen tennis tournament featured more than 130 international and professional tennis stars representing more than 33 countries.

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