Blackwood and Martin top Sagicor Bank All Jamaica Junior Tennis Champs

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Kingston, Jamaica; Ilana Blackwood and Kyle Martin captured the female and male MVP titles, respectively, after stellar performances in the Under 16 and 18 categories at Sunday’s finals’ day of the Sagicor Bank All Jamaica Junior Tennis Championships. A record 80 boys and 40 girls participated in four days of intense competition, which began on Thursday, June 3 at the Eric Bell Tennis Centre in Kingston.

Ilana Blackwood eased past Stephanie Franz 6-3, 6-2 in the U16 final but found national representative Shaeda Nickle too good in the U18 final, as she went down to the more experienced Nickle in straight sets, 6-1, 6-1. Blackwood’s U-16 title and U-18 runner up finish meant she was the overall female MVP of the 40 participants.

In Boys’ action, unseeded Kyle Martin was in scintillating form and so too was the number 2 seeded, Daniel Hill. Martin showcased immense technical ability and a crafty display of all-round ability from baseline play to dominating at the net to eventually seize a 7-5, 6-4 victory in the U-16 category. Martin later returned in the U-18 final where all eyes were firmly on him after easily dispatching the U-18 top seed Nicholas Malcolm in the semi-finals and he did not disappoint as he toppled Cliff Dwyer 6-4, 7-5 to seal a comprehensive day of play.

Following the awards ceremony on Sunday, Brand Manager of Sagicor Bank Jamaica Limited, Rejeanne Campbell could hardly hold back her excitement on the successful staging of this year’s Championships. “I would run out of adjectives to describe what a wonderful tournament it has been, exciting and nail biting stuff from the kids. The future looks bright for tennis in Jamaica,” said Campbell.

The inaugural U10 title saw Keyon’Dre Clarke losing out 10-3 to Daniel Azar; and Alyssa James taking the equivalent in the Girls, scoring 6-3 to Savannah Thompson. In the Boys U12, Damani Cain had to settle for second spot to John Azar who won 6-1, 6-2.

The U14 Boys’ title went to Myles Harrison who took out John Azar 6-2, 6-1. In the much anticipated U18 Boys’ final, Martin secured his second title in as many finals beating Cliff Dwyer 6-4, 7-5.

On the Girl’s side, Laurenne Mottley had a comfortable 6-2, 6-3 win over Katherine Dibbs to secure the U12 crown; while Junmoke James was also unmatched as she took out Justine Bryson 6-1, 6-3 in the U14 category final.

The Girls U18 doubles crown went to Stefanie Franz and Shaeda Nickle while the Boys U18 doubles title was won by Myles Harrison and Daniel Hill. The Boys U14 doubles title was won by Alexander Bicknell and Damani Chin.

Tennis Jamaica’s Honorary Secretary Leroy Brown weighed in on what was a tremendous event. “What was witnessed today and over the past couple of days was the strength of local youth tennis in Jamaica... What is even more impressive is that we introduced the Under 10 category for the first time and the children loved every moment of it,” said Brown.

Brown added that the organisation’s Play and Stay Tennis Programme, which introduces youngsters to the sport, is an essential aspect in the future of local tennis. “It is important that we get more and more kids playing tennis and once we introduce them to the sport, we want them to stay; and many thanks must be given to Sagicor Bank for being involved with tennis for eight consecutive years.”