Luca Knese and Savini Jayasuriya clinched the Under 18 Boys’ and Girls’ titles respectively at the 121st version of the SSC Open Tennis Tournament.
The first tournament for the calendar year saw last year’s young headline-makers make the front page once again. The tournament spanned from the 6th to the 25th of January with the tournament being refereed by Mr. Muffadal Hazari.
Louis Knese, the second seed, overcame a rather stress-free draw, not dropping a set in the tournament to beat the fourth seed Gehash Tissera 6/3, 6/1 in the final to win the under 12 category.
The under 14 title was lifted by Thilina Dissanayake by beating N. Goonetilleke, 5/0, ret. in the final match which proved to be very unfortunate for the latter considering the high expectations for this match.
The top seed in the under 16 category, Nelaka Dissanayake, comfortably saw out second seeded Anuth Wijesinghe 6/1,6/1 in the final in a tournament where the Anandian looked to be dominant throughout.
The big boys included many of the island’s best junior players as the top seed, Luca Knese looked to add another title under his belt as the under 18 tournament kicked off. The draw looked to have favoured Luca furthermore as he learned of second seeded Kavisha Rathnayake’s departure from the event. Speaking to thePapare.com, Luca stated that his toughest match mentally was against the Thomian, Venuka Delkadure, which served up a heated match which ended 6/2,3/6,10/7. Luca, displaying a moment of sportsmanship said “The match was a fiery one which included some unattractive actions from my side. Therefore, I would like to offer an apology to all those present there.” He went on to win the tournament by beating Dhilwan Herath in the semis and under-16 champ Nelaka Disaanayake 3/6,6/3,6/3 to win the tournament. “My coach Dumindu Dilum and my family have played a massive role in winning recent tournaments. Without them, I wouldn’t be here”, he added.
The Under 12 crown was taken by third seed, Shashinika Chandrasiri by overcoming Dinara De Silva in the final in what looked to be a very open category as the matches unfolded.
Third seed N. Vivekandan won the Under 14 event where she beat Vishmi Serasinghe 7/5,6/4 in a tournament where she had not lost a set.
In the Under 16 tournament, Hashini Hewa grabbed the title where she beat Tuvini De Silva 6/4,6/3 in the final where she too did not drop a set in winning the event.
The under 18 tournament encompassed many young players from other age groups but the experience of top seed Savini Jayasuriya radiated throughout the tournament. She did not drop a set throughout the entirety of the event and comfortably saw out players in style. Upon being crowned Under 18 champion, we caught up with the Bishopian. When asked about the toughest match she had to play, she responded “It was probably that of Preethika’s match which I won 6/2,6/0. The tournament had so many talented young players so the future looks promising”, she added.
The Sri Lanka Fed Cup player also mentioned that her Under 18 sweep could be attributed to a good amount of preparation and help from her coach, Guyanga Weerasekara, her family as well as doubles partner Janali Mannamperi, with whom she won the Women’s doubles title as well.