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Pro tennis hits town

PRO tennis has made its way back to Winnipeg.

Today marks the beginning of the 2012 Manshield Tennis Futures Tournament at Sargent Park Tennis Garden and the first time the city has hosted a pro tennis tournament since the 1999 Pan American Games.

It's the first time Winnipeg has hosted a men's draw sanctioned by the International Tennis Federation, a professional circuit that consists of close to 300 tournaments worldwide each year.

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"As far as tennis goes I think we're opening the door," said tournament director George Kylar about the impact of the tournament on local talent. "I think right now we are relying on strictly the (method) take some lessons, work out, and come and play local tournaments which are very average in level and very average in attendance. That's got to grow. Motivation is the biggest aspect to tennis. Hopefully some kids will watch matches and say 'you know what, this is what I want to do' and that will lead to better tennis in this province."

Three Manitobans will be competing in the tournament, all of whom reached the draw thanks to wild-card spots allocated for the tournament host. In men's doubles, Winnipegger Muzeen Ismath and Kevin Kylar will see action. Ismath will play with Mill Bay, B.C native Alden Eakins while Kylar will be matched up with Andrew Ochotta from Scarborough, Ont. Kylar will also be the lone Manitoban in the men's singles draw.

"It's great," said Kylar. "A crowd will come out and I know the courts. It's a big opportunity. You're at home, you have your regular routine, you sleep in your own bed, which is always better than travelling."

Another name expected to grab attention this week is 18-year-old Filip Peliwo, who won the boy's title at Wimbledon this summer in London, England.

"I like it so far. It's a nice calm place and I can do my own thing and relax when I need to," said Peliwo about his time in Winnipeg so far. "It's good to be here and I think it's a really good place to start my first tournament (in his upcoming five-week tour) and I'm happy to be here."

Peliwo is ranked fifth among the tournament hopefuls.

"If I'm playing well I think my chances are great. I'm hoping to get my first pro title here but you never know. Everyone's good here and you can lose to anyone," he said.

Rounding out the top five are No. 1-ranked Daniel Garza from Mexico, followed by Ante Pavic from Croatia, Japan native Hiroyasu Ehara and Joshua Zavala from the U.S.

Action begins today at 10 a.m., running all week. The finals are scheduled for Sunday.


Ultimate weekend

IT was an ultimate weekend for Manitoba at the 2012 Canadian Ultimate Championships in Victoria, B.C.

On Saturday, the junior men's team claimed gold while the junior women's squad wrapped up their tournament with a bronze.

The Manitoba Men's Open team capped off the weekend with a silver medal Sunday.


Pischke wins gold

Taylor Pischke, a member of the Manitoba Bisons women's volleyball team, captured gold at the 2012 Volleyball Canada Beach Nationals which were held at Spanish Banks Beach in Vancouver, B.C. Aug. 17-19.

Pischke, along with Melissa Humana-Paredes of Toronto, defeated defending national champions Heather Bansley and Liz Maloney of Toronto in an exciting three-game match, 21-16, 19-21, 21-19.

Pischke, 19, will join the Bisons in the upcoming 2012-2013 season after playing a year at the University of California.


Gryphons lose B-side final

IT was a disappointing weekend for the Manitoba Gryphons Jr. B Lacrosse team at this year's Founder's Cup National Championship in Hamilton.

After a modest 2012 campaign that saw the club finish with an overall record of 10-9 in the Rocky Mountain Lacrosse League, the Gryphons lost in the B-side final to the Saskatchewan SWAT by a score of 12-11.

The Gryphons started off strong, opening round-robin play with a win against B.C., but would lose three straight to Nova Scotia, the Calgary Mountaineers and the Six Nations Rebels.

But not all was lost.

Following the conclusion of the tournament, it was announced that the Gryphons will play host to the 2013 Founder's Cup Championship.

There's always next year.


-- Jeff Hamilton

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 21, 2012 C4

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