Our girls will conquer US tennis courts

In the website of US Embasy in Latvia it’s said, that the USA university system is one of the biggest and best systems in the world with great study programmes in almost every field. The degrees are recognized worldwide for their excellence. Studying in American universities is very expensive. Consequently, for many who want to study in the United States, it seems like an unattainable dream. However, there are various options and support systems to keep tuition costs in the US lower or even non-existent.

2017.gada 7.maijā visas trīs liepājnieces kāpa LTS kausa 5.posmā U18 vecuma grupai. Cerams, ka visas trīs liepājnieces arī ASV spēs aizņemt visu goda pjedestālu. (no kreisās - Patrīcija Špaka, Rebeka Margareta Mertena, Elza Tomase).

On May 7, 2017, all three Liepaja Tennis sport school students took the podium of U18 age group in the 5th stage of the LTS Cup. We hope that all three girls will get on the podiums in the USA. (from left – Patrīcija Špaka, Rebeka Margareta Mertena, Elza Tomase).

So far, several former graduates of Liepāja Tennis sport school have obtained higher education in the USA, additionally combining it with a game of tennis. This year, two graduates of Liepāja Tennis sport school have signed agreements on studies in the USA – Elza Tomase chose to study in University of Tennessee, but Patrīcija Špaka chose Arizona State University. It should be noted, that in University of Tennessee last year her studies began Liepaja Tennis sport school graduate Rebeka Margareta Mertena. Meanwhile, Liepaja Tennis sport school coach Katrīna Samoilova studied in Western Kentucky University from 2009 till 2013. To find out how our girls managed to get into these universities, we invited them to share their experiences.

Rebeka Margareta Mertena – “Now, while at university, there is a much greater understanding of the admission process and it is interesting to see what schools made me offers.”

Rebeka Margareta Mertena Tenesī universitātes formā

Rebeka Margareta Mertena studies in the University of Tennessee

At the beginning of the conversation, all four Liepaja women shared their thoughts that studying in the USA has been their dream for a long time. One of the reasons is that while studying at these universities, you have the opportunity to play tennis at a high level. Extra motivation to study in the United States for Patrīcija occurred when at the age of 12, she along with other Liepaja Tennis sport school students had the opportunity to travel to the US for a month and take part in various training and competitions. Meanwhile, Rebeka received additional motivation by the study experience of other Latvian tennis players in the USA and she realized that it is something unique and such an opportunity should be used.. For Katrīna, studying in the USA was a goal at an early age, because she knew that several students of Liepāja Tennis sport school had gone there to study..

Patrīcija Špaka – “It is very important that in the selection process you have the opportunity to consult and ask for advice from people who have gone through this difficult process themselves! This is probably one of the main lessons – feel free to ask for advice!”

Arizonas Štata universitātes paziņojums par Patrīcijas Špakas uzņemšanu

Arizona State University announcement on Patrīcija Špaka admission

Responding to the application process at US universities, Elza noted that the process had been relatively difficult. It was necessary to pass two specialized examinations in English, as the requirements and assessment criteria of each university differed. Of course, the more prestigious and better the university, the stricter the entry requirements. Patrīcija said that the first interest in her was received from US universities when she was in 9th grade. At first, Patricia felt this too quickly, but later realized that the process was normal practice. In this way, universities show a genuine interest in attracting new students and players. Rebeka pointed out that the whole application process took her a year and a half. All three tennis players confirmed that the application process at US universities is long and tedious, as they have to choose a university from a wide range of offers and at the same time attend in interviews. As there is a difference of several hours between Latvia and the USA, the interviews with universities took place relatively late. Given that they continued to take part in various competitions, it happened that these interviews took place during the tournaments, when all the focus was on the games. However, these interviews helped universities to understand tennis, and they also gave girls the opportunity to understand what they would like to study and where to spend the next four years of life.

Elza Tomase – “I am very happy to be able to study at one of the best universities in the United States!”

Tenesī universitātes paziņojums par Elzas Tomases uzņemšanu

University of Tennessee announcement on Elza Tomase admission

Sharing her thoughts on choosing a particular university, Patrīcija mentions that she had identified a number of key factors: the university’s tennis and learning rankings, the curricula on offer, and factors such as the weather at the university’s locations. However, one of the most important factors was contact and cooperation with coaches and the team. Rebeka also based the choice of the particular university on coaches, friendly atmosphere and feeling of being in safe hands, as well as the location of the university. Elza, on the other hand, took into account the level of tennis at each university, but the final decision was made by choosing between two universities. The University of Tennessee was preferred because it is one of the 20 leading universities in tennis in the United States that met her criteria. Another important factor in the decision was the fact that Elza’s best friend Rebeka is already studying there.

Katrīna Samoilova – “While studying in the United States, I have gained a lot – education, friends, and life experience, which is a great value”.

Katrīna Samoilova 2013.gadā absolvējot Rietumu Kentuki universitāti

Katrīna Samoilova in 2013, graduating from the Western Kentucky University

When the contracts were signed, the girls felt great and filled with joy and, in a sense, relief, that they no longer had to worry about what to do after high school and that this difficult, tedious and long application process was over.

In describing her chosen University, Patrīcija emphasized that the Arizona State University is one of the oldest universities in the United States, with more than 50,000 students. The university is located near the city of Phoenix in Tempe and it is very hot there. The university also has a rich sports tradition in several sports – basketball, American football and also tennis, where it is a stable Top 20 team with great ambitions. The university also offers a very wide curriculum and has the opportunity to learn a variety of professions. Elza knew that the University of Tennessee, based in Knoxville, offers more than 170 study programs and is located next to one of the most visited national parks in the United States. Rebeka added that the University of Tennessee is a large public school that is good at both the academic and sports levels and that sport is a big part of the university. American football is very popular and the stadium of a university team can accommodate more than a hundred thousand spectators. Describing the Western Kentucky University, Katrīna highlighted the fact that it is an international university with students from many countries around the world, so there is an opportunity to get to know different cultures. Western Kentucky University campus is one of the 10 best university campuses in America, where everything is designed to make students feel good and safe.

Asked to describe her experience of studying at the University of Tennessee, Rebeka said that university life is cool, but the schedule for athletes is quite busy, because a lot of time is spent both studying and training. It was hard to get used to at first, but over time it became normal. In addition to training and exercises, of course, you must also participate in tournaments, to which the whole team goes to together. At first, Rebeka thought that it will be difficult to fit in, but in reality it was easy. The team and the university staff are very helpful in adapting and making sure that the new students cope with everything. Rebeka describes the first year of study at the university as excellent, because she got acquinted with many new people. In many competitions she started with good results. Asked for advice from others planning to study in the United States, Rebeka said that it is essential not to give in to the slightest hurdles, to take on challenges, and to see studying in the United States as a huge opportunity and not as something intimidating.

Sharing her experience of studying, Katrīna said that at the beginning it was very difficult for her to get used to it, because she had to get used to the new life and understand how everything is going there. She also lacked a family presence. However, gradually getting acquainted with the teammates, as well as other Latvians studying at the university, who trained in athletics, Katrīna gradually felt like in her second home. One of the first teammates Katrīna met, they developed a very friendly relationship and are still in regular contact. At the university, Katrīna studied hotel, restaurant and tourism management. She really enjoyed this educational program because the lecturers regularly shared practical examples from real life and their personal experiences. For anyone planning to study in the United States, Katrīna definitely recommends enjoying this time. As someone who helped her get to the United States had told her that if she could survive America, then life wouldn’t seem difficult anymore. Katrīna definitely agrees with this statement.

J3 Liepāja is canceled

Because of the prolongation of the state of Covid-19 emergency in Latvia till January 11, 2021, ITF World Tennis Tour J3 Liepāja tournament is canceled!

Atcelts ITF Liepāja starptautiskais tenisa turnīrs 2020.gada decembrī

Stay safe and healthy!

Our students compete in ITF Juniours

October 5-9 in Jelgava took place ITF Juniors tournamet “Jelgava Cup”.

Liepaja Tennis sport school was represented by Dāvids Špaks and Alise Vindiga.Dāvids Špaks in the boys competition began with the Qualifiers, but unfortunately in the first game he lost with 6-4 2-6 9-11 to Nojus Poska (Lithuania). And in the Doubles 1st round, where he played together with Alexi Khamrotau (Belarus) with 5-7 7-6(6) 3-10 they lost to pair from Belarus – Anton Kastsenich and Daniil Piatrouski.

At the girls competition our Alise began in the Main draw. In the 1st round with 6-4 1-6 6-4 she won over Estonian Elisabeth Iila, but in the 2nd round with 6-3 6-2 she won over Stsefaniya Shabanava from Belarus. In the game for Semifinal Alise with 6-1 6-7(4) 1-6 lost to other Latvian player – Elizabete Kļavinska. Meanwhile in Doubles Alise did not compete.

Our Dāvids Špaks finishes 2nd in ITF Juniors Doubles

September 28 – October 2 in Ādaži took place ITF Juniors “Ādaži Open” where Liepaja Tennis sport school representative Dāvids Špaks finished 2nd in Doubles.Our only representative in the tournament Dāvids Špaks in the first game in Singles Main draw lost with 5-7 2-6 to Markus Molder from Estonia. Meanwhile in Doubles our Dāvids Špaks played together with Alexi Khamrotau from Belarus. Both boys in the 1st round with 7-6(3) 6-3 won over Latvian pair Artjoms Afanasjevs and Daniels Tens. After then Latvian-Belarusian pair made victory with 7-5 6-3 over 4th seeded Noah Eisenberg (USA) and Fabio Nestola (Great Britain). In Semifinal Dāvids with Alexi with 6-4 7-6(3) made their place in Final over Swedish pair Elliot Altman and John Gabelic. With similar game Dāvids and Alexi against Nicolas Kobelt (Switzerland) and Arslanbek Temirhanov (Sweden) lost to 2nd seeded pair with 6-7(5) 4-6. So at the end our Dāvids Špaks and Belarusian Alexi Khamrotau finished 2nd in Doubles.

In Liepaja concluded ITF Juniors tour

August 31 till September 4 in the tennis courts of Liepaja Tennis sport school took place ITF World Tennis Tour Juniors J5 category tournament “Liepaja International by Prince”. Because of rainy conditions, the Singles Finals were played in LOC Tennis hall.Liepaja Tennis sport school and Latvian Tennis Union organized international tournament already has became a tradition. And this year at the tournament competed around 100 tennis players from around the Europe.Liepaja Tennis sport school was represented by Dāvids Špaks, Dāvis Rolis, Alise Vindiga and Anastasija Rižkova. In Singles unfortunately the opponents were a little bit better and our students couldn’t get past the 1st Round. Meanwhile in Doubles our students got till the games for Semifinals.At boys competition the victory in the Singles tournament was celebrated by 1st seeded Estonian Mark Lajal, who with 6-2 6-1 won over 4th seeded Lithuanian Pijus Vaitiekunas. Meanwhile in Doubles in the Liepaja tournament triumphed Lithuanians Ainius Sabaliauskas and Pijus Vaitiekunas by winning in Final with 6-4 6-4 over Latvian and Swiss pair – Edvards Teodors Liepiņš and Kaj Quirijns.At girls competition won 1st seeded Latvian Sabīne Rutlauka, by winning in Final with 6-2 6-2 over 3rd seeded Aveltina Ibragimova from Russia. Meanwhile in Doubles victory was celebrated by Lithuanians Uma Bakaityte and Patricija Paukstyte, who won in Final with 6-3 6-2 Latvian and Lithuanian mixed pair – Sabīne Rutlauka and Klaudija Bubelyte.The tournament was supported by Prince and Liepaja municipality.

Photo: Mārtiņš Vējš

In Liepaja will take place ITF World Tennis Tour Juniors tournament

August 31 till September 4 in the Liepaja Tennis sport school tennis courts at the Jūrmalas parks will take place ITF World Tennis Tour Juniors J5 category tournament “Liepaja International by Prince” for U18 age group.In Liepaja Tennis sport school and Latvian Tennis union organized already traditional tournament will participate 94 young tennis players from Belarus, Ukraine, Italy, Switzerland, Great Britain, Canada, Russia, Finland, Sweden, Ireland, Germany, Estonia, Lithuania and of course Latvia. Liepaja Tennis sport school will be represented by Dāvids Špaks, Dāvis Rolis, Evelīna Ķīvīte, Alise Vindiga and Anastasija Rižkova.

Tournament is supported by Prince and Liepaja municipality.

Anastasija Sevastova nominated for Fed Cup Heart award

Balvas kandidātes. Foto: fedcup.com

Team Latvia player, our local Anastasija Sevastova for the second year in a row is nominated for the Fed Cup Heart award. This nomination Anastasija received for the win in the Fed Cup in February 2020 when team Latvia met with team USA. During the games our Anastasija with 7-6(5) 3-6 7-6(4) won over the 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams, who in the Fed Cup Singles had only victories – 14 of them.

At the end team Latvia with 2-3 lost to team USA.

The winner will be announced on May 11.

Marija Lauva wins the 7th place in Europe in the Latvian national team

February 14 – 16 in Great Britain city Sunderland took place “Tennis Europe Winter Cups by HEAD” for U12 Final tournament. In this tournament competed team Latvia girls, who in early February won the possibility to participate in the Final tournament. Together with Adelina Lačinova and Stefānija Bolēvica, team Latvia was represented by Liepaja Tennis sport school student Marija Lauva. In the Final tournament team Latvia took 7th place.The possibility to compete in the Final tournament was won by 8 national teams – Belarus, Belgium, Czech Republic, Great Britain, Italy, Latvia, Poland and last year winners – Russia.In the first day of the Final tournament team Latvia met against team Belarus. First Singles game was played by our Marija Lauva, who with 6-7(5) 1-6 lost to Belarussian Uladzislava Manzhos. In the second Singles game Latvian Adelina Lačinova with 1-6 4-6 lost to Yuliya Perapekhina. So team Belarus granted themselves place in Semifinal. The concluding Doubles game Latvian girls Marija Lauva and Stefānija Bolēvica with 6-3 5-7 10-7 won over the Belarussians. So team Latvia continued to compete for 5th-8th place.In second day game for the 5th-8th place, team Latvia met against team Czech Republic. Unfortunately team Latvia lost to team Czech Republic with 0-3. Our Marija Lauva competed in Doubles, where together with Adelina Lačinova they lost with 4-6 3-6.In the concluding last day, team Latvia competed for the 7th-8th place against team Italy. First Singles game was won by our Marija Lauva, who in two hours game with 7-6(8) 5-7 6-3 won over Italian Elena Francese. Second Singles game with 6-0 4-6 6-1 was won by Latvian Adelina Lačinova. So team Latvia granted themselves 7th place in Europe. In the remaining Doubles game Marija Lauva together with Stefānija Bolēvica with 6-4 6-4 put a dot in the competition against team Italy with overall win with 3-0.The victory in “Tennis Europe Winter Cups by HEAD” Final tournament was won by team Great Britain, but team Latvia finished 7th.

Our Elza Tomase debuts in WTA ranking

After the victory in ITF Women’s World Tennis Tour category W15 tournament “Liepaja Open” our Elza Tomase has debuted in WTA ranking.February 3, 2020 new WTA ranking was published. Thanks to the victory in ITF “Liepaja Open” tournament, 18 years old Elza Tomase has signed in the WTA ranking with 10 received points. Elza Tomase debuted at the WTA ranking in 1044th place. Elza still competes in Junior tournaments. In ITF Juniors ranking Elza Tomase at the moment is in 253rd place. Today Elza is in Moldova, where she competes in ITF Juniors tournament “J2 Chisinau”. At this tournament Elza is seeded 8th and in the 1st round she won with 5:7 6:1 6:2 over Iulia Gherman from Molodva. In 2nd round Elza will go head to head with Anna Zyryanova from Russia.We congratulate Elza Tomase with getting into the WTA rating and we wish her to climb higher in the ranking.

Additional information:
Latvian tennis players in WTA ranking (February 3, 2020):
40th place – Jeļena Ostapenko
41st place – Anastasija Sevastova
255th place – Diāna Marcinkeviča
502nd place – Daniela Vismane
918th place – Kamilla Bartone
1037th place – Margarita Ignatjeva
1044th place  – Elza Tomase
1281st place – Darja Semenistaja

Marija Lauva from Liepaja represents team Latvia and gets into the TE Final tournament

January 31 – February 2 in Estonian capital Tallinn took place international National team qualification tournament “Tennis Europe Winter Cups by HEAD” for U12 age group, to decide on countries which will participate in Final tournament. Together with Adelina Lačinova and Stefānija Bolēvica team Latvia was represented by Liepaja Tennis sport school student Marija Lauva. Team Latvia girls managed to get into the Final tournament, which will take place in two weeks in Great Britain.Team Latvia girls competed in Zone B qualification round, where competed 7 countries – Bulgaria, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Russia and Switzerland. From each qualification zone two best teams will compete at “Tennis Europe Winter Cups by HEAD” Final tournament, which will take place February 14-16 in Sunderland (Great Britain). Team Latvia in the qualification zone competed together with the winners of last years Final – team Russia. The tournament has a format that each duel has two Singles games and one Doubles. Winner of the duel gets into the next round.In 1st round team Latvia had to compete against team Estonia. First Singles game was between our Marija Lauva and Estonian Marie Johanna Lapimaa. In one hour and a half long game Marija lost with 2-6 6-7(2). Second Singles game was won by Latvian Adelina Lačinova so the Doubles game was the deciding game for the next round. In Doubles competed Adelina Lačinova and our Marija Lauva against Marie Johanna Lapimaa and Miriam Rankel. In less than an hour team Latvia girls with 6-0 6-3 took our team in the next round.In 2nd team Latvia had to compete against team Bulgaria. First Singles game this time played Latvian Stefānija Bolēvica who with 7-5 6(4)-7 4-6 lost to Bulgarian Valeria Garnevska. In second Singles game Latvian Adelina Lačinova against Andrea Ivanova with 6-1 6-1 kept team Latvia in the competition, where again the Doubles will make the decision. In the Doubles against Bulgaria, team Latvia again was represented by Adelina Lačinova and our Marija Lauva who competed against Valeria Garnevska and Rafaela Simeonova. With 7-5 6-3 team Latvia won the duel and granted them a place in the Final tournament in Great Britain, which will take place in two weeks. As well, it ment that team Latvia in the Qualifications last round will compete against former Final winners team Russia, to decide, which team is stronger in this Qualification zone.In the last round of the Qualification tournament against team Russia, the first Singles was played by our Marija Lauva who unfortunately with 2-6 0-6 lost to Russian Efremova Ksenia. In the second Singles game Latvian Adelina Lačinova with 7-5 1-6 4-6 lost to Russian Daria Koreshkova. Even though both lost Singles games already made the team Russia winners of this qualification round over team Latvia, the Doubles were played. Our Marija Lauva with Stefānija Bolēvica competed against Russians – Efremova Ksenia and Polina Vimba. With 4-6 3-6 team Latvia lost to team Russia. So at the end team Latvia finished 2nd in the Qualification tournament, which lets our girls to compete in the “Tennis Europe Winter Cups by HEAD” Final tournament.