Tennis is one of those sports where great comebacks are always a possibility.
The women’s singles final of the NWT Open at the Yellowknife Tennis Club provided us with one such comeback and it was the definition of snatching victory from the jaws of defeat.
Tamara Jovic defeated Anna Coles in the final on Sunday afternoon in three sets – 1-6, 7-6, 6-4 – in a three-hour marathon but it’s how Jovic did it. Coles was up 5-0 in the second set and had Jovic on the ropes but Jovic managed to turn things around to win the second set before clinching it in the deciding set.
Jovic said the turnaround started during the changeover at 5-0.
“Cole (Clinton) was playing on the court next to me and asked if I had won a game in that set,” she said. “That’s when I knew I had to do something.”
Jovic said she started playing a lot to Coles’ backhand, which Coles was doing as well, and started employing the lob.
“My backhand is always weaker and I know no one really likes playing lob shots so I started doing that more often,” she said. “I started hitting the ball harder and going for it on some shots. I just played smarter.”
Jovic wrapped up the win by coming back down from 4-3 in the final set, claiming the final three games in a row.
“Anna told me she had four match points in the second set and I never even though of that, never crossed my mind that she was that close,” said Jovic.
It’s the third women’s singles title for Jovic and she said it was the hardest one to win.
“I’ve never come back from that far down,” she said. “We’ve played three times now and that was the first time we went to three sets.”
There were other titles on the line as well, including the men’s singles final featuring Clinton taking on Martin Deschenes. Deschenes would come out on top in straight sets, 6-1, 6-3, but Clinton had nothing to be ashamed of, said Slavica Jovic of Tennis NWT.
“He played a few tough matches against Blair Macpherson, Dennis Bevington and Alex Godfrey to get to the finals,” she said.
Jovic and Clinton would team up to win the mixed doubles title over Joan and Dennis Bevington of Fort Smith in straight sets, 6-4, 7-6, in a match where Slavica Jovic said both teams fought for every point.
The men’s doubles champions this year are MD Mahfuzur Rahman and KM Safat Rashif as they took down the father/son duo of Nittin and Nikhilesh Gohil, 6-4, 6-4, while Coles teamed with Dawn Keim to win the women’s doubles crown over Joan Bevington and Jeannie Scott, 6-0.
Slavica Jovic said it was a one-set match due to time constraints; Bevington had to hit the road back home and Scott had other commitments to tend to.
A total of 50 players from Yellowknife and Fort Smith hit the courts over the course of the tournament and Slavica Jovic said the number of participants meant that games would have meant a July 22 start.
But the skies opened up with rain, forcing everything to get underway the following day.
“We were lucky that the weather was good so we were able to accommodate consolation matches on Saturday and Sunday and give participants another opportunity to play if they lost their first round matches,” she said.