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BLTA junior nationals to get underway this weekend

  • RETURN SHOT: Iesha Shepherd makes a return shot in this file photo. Shepherd is also expected to play in the BLTA’s Junior National Championships this weekend.

  • STRETCH FOR IT: Shannon Francis stretches for a return shot in this file photo. Francis is expected to be one of the players to play in the BLTA’s Junior National Championships this weekend.

KELSIE JOHNSON
Guardian Sports Reporter
kelsie@nasguard.com

Published: Jun 27, 2013

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The draws for this year’s junior national tennis tournament will be missing the names of a number of the top ranked players in the country who had previous commitments to tournaments on the International Tennis Federation’s (ITF) junior tour.

The Bahamas’ Junior National Championships is a sanctioned event by the Bahamas Lawn Tennis Association (BLTA) which is held each year. The event will swing into action on Friday at the BLTA’s National Tennis Centre. The official draws will be released today.

Just before he officially gave his support to the junior players who will be competing internationally this weekend, BLTA President Derron Donaldson said that they will be truly missed at this year’s junior nationals, and he understands the opportunities that they are presented with.

“The junior players have really been playing great tennis here and abroad,” said Donaldson. “The executives all understand and wish them well. They will be missed at the event here, but I am sure if they didn’t have other commitments they would have been here playing. This tournament will rank our junior players on the local end, but obviously there will be a number of things that we will have to factor in when it comes to the rankings. Those players who are not playing here this weekend have already secured ITF points, while some of the players who will be playing, they either have points or are looking to get them. We have players coming from all over The Bahamas this weekend. This is one of the biggest tournaments for the year.”

Play will be held in the boys’ and girls’ 14-and-under divisions and the boys’ and girls’ 16-18 divisions. All divisions will play singles as well as doubles. Some of the tournament’s seeded players are Shannon Francis, Joshua Turnquest, O’Neil Mortimer, Jacobi Bain, Iesha Shepherd, Gabriella Donaldson, Shay-Tonya Missick, Sydney Clarke and Lauryn Daxon.

Currently playing at the Bank of Bermuda Foundation ITF Junior Tournament are Shaquille Taylor and Kevin Major Jr. Both Taylor and Major Jr. are in the quarterfinals in the doubles division of the ITF Grade Five tournament. Major Jr. is partnering with Jody Maginley of Antigua, and they are seeded second. The number four seeded team, Taylor and Stefan Cooper, defeated Adam Ambrozy and Jake Gabay, 6-1 and 6-0. They will play the American pair of Courtney Murphy and Myles Schalet, who advanced with a 6-3 and 6-2 win over Harry Copley and Alex Hagon.

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