January 20-26 in Liepaja for the first time took place Women’s World Tennis Tour W15 category tournament “Liepaja Open”. Victory in the Singles tournament was celebrated by local Elza Tomase, who in this level tournament competed for the first time.
Latvia at the ITF “Liepaja Open” was represented by 9 tennis players. Liepaja, as hometown was represented by three – Elza Tomase, Patrīcija Špaka and Alise Vindiga.Alise Vindiga began the tournament with Qualifiers, where already in the 1st round with 2:6 0:6 she lost to Melis Yasar (Sweden). Alise competed in Doubles together with other Latvian representative – Alise Runča. Unfortunately they lost in the 1st round with 2:6 5:7 to Anna Parkhomenko (Ukraine) and Lucie Petruzelova (Czech Republic).
Patrīcija Špaka began the tournament in Main draw, but in the 1st round she lost to Anna Parkhomenko (Ukraine) with 3:6 4:6.Locals Patrīcija Špaka and Elza Tomase joined their forces for Doubles tournament. In 1st round with 7:6(5) 6:2 they won over Estonians – Sofiya Chekhlystova and Helena Narmont. In Doubles Quarterfinals our girls had to compete against 1st seeded Polish pair – Weronika Falkowska and Martyna Kubka. Poles demonstrated 1st seeded game and eliminated Latvians with 6:2 6:3.
Elza Tomase her first adult ITF began already in Main draw. The 1st round Elza began with a 7:5 6:3 victory over Polina Bakhmutkina (Russia). In 2nd round with 3:6 7:6(3) 6:3 Elza knocked out other Latvian tennis player – Margarita Ignatjeva. In Quarterfinal Elza with 6:4 4:6 7:6(3) continued the tournament over Katriin Saar (Estonia). With each next game Elza showed more stable and improved game. In Semifinal with 7:6(3) 6:2 she dealt with 7th seeded Viktoria Morvayova (Slovakia) and granted herself the first ITF Women’s World Tennis Tour Final against 2nd seeded Quirine Lemoine from Netherlands. With big supporters crowd in the tennis hall Elza Tomase demonstrated willpower and insistance. With 0:6 6:3 6:1 our own Elza Tomase celebrated victory in her 1st women ITF tournament which was the 1st tournament in Liepaja.After the tournament victory Elza still couldn’t believe her success and achievement, especially when she has won already in her 1st professional tennis tournament. Elza also appreciated the great support of the supporters at the crucial moments. She pointed out, that she doesn’t have much time to celebrate the victory, because she has to prepare for the next tournaments – European juniors tournaments in Moldova, Germany and Lithuania.
With the victory in ITF W15 category “Liepaja Open” tournament, Elza Tomase has earned 10 WTA ranking points and will debut in the WTA ranking!
During the competition week supporters were eyewitnesses to emotions and moments which have not occurred in Liepaja tennis life. Because of these moments sport is interesting and breathtaking. In moments when all facts, prognosis and numbers say the opposite, in sport everything is possible and it was demonstrated by Elza Tomase with her performance. The tournament organizers – Liepaja Tennis sport school and Latvian Tennis union has unlimited joy and satisfaction for the excellent tournament and for the local Elza Tomase first achievement in such level tournament.In Doubles the victory was celebrated by 3rd seeded Katyarina Paulenka (Belarus) and Ekaterina Shalimova (Russia) who in Final with 4:6 6:3 12:10 won over 1st seeded pair from Poland – Weronika Falkowska and Martyna Kubka. After the Doubles victory Ekaterina Shalimova said that this tournament she will remember for sure as one of the best organized tournaments overall. Everything that had to be provided to the players (Warm-up field, warm-up zone, Players lounge, transportation between hotel and tennis hall) was provided in the best quality. Often in other tournaments these things are not provided by organizers. As well she said that the catering in Liepaja is in the top level. Meanwhile the other Doubles winner Katyarina Paulenka (she had birthday in her victory day) wanted to thank organizers and staff for the excellent organized competition week.
Head of Liepaja Tennis sport school Elans Zīverts would like to thank to Liepaja Municipality and Latvian Tennis union for the support to organize such level tournament in Liepaja. This tournament and the success of our tennis players is a proof, that Latvian and Liepaja tennis players level is high and this tournament is a great investment in the development of young tennis players, because they can observe high level tennis and learn from professionals in their own environment, which is not possible to have in regular everyday life. Zīverts highlighted, that this tournament will be an additional push for the development of young tennis players to gain motivation and dedication from these kind of games.
The Secretary-General of Latvian Tennis Union in looking back to ITF “Liepaja Open” first wanted to thank to Liepaja Municipality for the great collaboration. As well he had great joy that in the 1st tournament in Liepaja the winner was from Liepaja. As well as that this kind of collaboration should be organized in the future by organizing additionally different level tennis tournaments in Liepaja.
ITF Supervisor Konstantīns Zasjadko said that in tournament competed 56 tennis players from 17 countries and competed for 15 000 USD prize and WTA ranking points. Zasjadko said that the organizers provided everything that was necessary for this level tournaments – hotel, transportation, cafe, courts according to ITF regulations. Tennis players have praised the Warm-up zone, because not in all tennis halls there is such a place. Because of that Zasjadko wanted to thank the designers of the tennis hall, that hey have planned such a place in the hall. Supervisor highlighted that the tournament participants had a positive wibe, thanks to the great organizational level of the tournament. As well he thanked to the Liepaja Tennis sport school staff and Latvian Tennis union as well to Liepaja Municipality for the support and interest to have and organize such a tournament. Special gratitude has to go to the tennis supporters who came and supported their local Elza Tomase. At the Semifinal there were more than 200 supporters, but in the Final even more than 300 supporters. Thanks to the supporters the atmosphere in the tennis hall was amazing. Players are playing for the supporters, because of that they really appreciate the supporters support.
Photo: Mārtiņš Vējš