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Challenger Champions

Jul 17, 2017

Above photo: men’s singles champion Blaz Kavcic. Photo courtesy of POP Entertainment & Management.

News from the Winnipeg National Bank Challenger, July 8-16 at Winnipeg Lawn Tennis Club. 

Kavcic Wins Men’s Title

Blaz Kavcic of Slovenia beat Canadian Peter Polanksy 7-5, 3-6, 7-5 in Sunday’s men’s singles final at the Winnipeg National Bank Challenger.

“The Canadian people, they are really educated about tennis,” said Kavcic. “They also clap for me when I make good points. Of course they will cheer for him more, but they were not one sided so it was easy to play.”

Kavcic also reached the final of the 2016 Winnipeg National Bank Challenger, losing to Japan’s Go Soeda in three sets. Last year in Winnipeg Kavcic was just returning to competition after recovering from a foot injury.

“Last year I had surgery on my foot,” Kavcic said. “Before going to surgery I didn’t know if I could play tennis anymore.”

Kavcic was a finalist at three ATP Challenger tournaments earlier this year in Thailand, Japan and China.

“Of course I want to win one and I did it here,” said Kavcic. “It was amazing because I make it now in top 100 (in the world) so I made the main draw at the US Open.”

Polansky was playing the Winnipeg National Bank Challenger for the second time after reaching the quarterfinals last year.

“It’s tough to be disappointed after a match like that, fighting hard to the end,” Polansky said after his defeat to Kavcic.

With his four victories at the tournament, Polansky became the first Canadian to reach the men’s singles final of the Winnipeg National Bank Challenger.

“It’s enjoyable playing in front of this crowd here,” Polansky said. “Even the tournaments coming up – (National Bank Challengers) Gatineau, Granby – they’re all very similar in the sense they have stands set up like this, a centre court and they do some night matches. I feel like all the Canadian events are quite enjoyable to play, especially as a Canadian.”

Dolehide Captures Women’s Title

Caroline Dolehide of Hinsdale, Illinois won the women’s singles crown Sunday with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Japan’s Mayo Hibi. Dolehide, who also reached the women’s doubles final partnering with Kimberly Birrell of Australia, played nine total matches at the Winnipeg National Bank Challenger.

“I think the key to all that was just hydrating and getting the best recovery I possibly could,” said Dolehide, who will play in a $60,000 ITF women’s circuit event this week in Stockton, California. “The medical staff here was awesome. They worked on me a lot.”

Dolehide was a semifinalist in junior girls’ singles at the 2014 US Open. The 18-year-old was competing in Canada for the first time at the Winnipeg National Bank Challenger.

“People are really nice here,” Dolehide said. “I kind of expected that, though, because Canadians have that reputation.”

The women’s singles event at the inaugural Winnipeg National Bank Challenger in 2013 was won by Great Britain’s Johanna Konta, who is ranked No. 7 in the world and reached the semifinals of Wimbledon this year.

“It’s inspiring,” Dolehide said. “I think we all have to start off somewhere. It’s pretty cool to know that Konta and other names have won this tournament.”