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Wheelchair Update: Venos Strikes Twice in April – Tennis Canada

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April was a very good month on the ITF Wheelchair Tennis Tour for the Canadians, especially Thomas Venos.  

Over the last four weeks, the 24-year-old reached three finals, winning two of them. His best results came at an event in Villers-lès-Nancy, where he reached both the singles and doubles finals, winning the former.  

It was a dominant run for Venos in singles, as he did not drop a set on his way to the final. He only lost seven games in the first five sets he played. With the title on the line, the New Westminster, BC native was able to rally from a set down to claim his first singles title of the season with a 2-6, 7-5, 6-3 win over home hope Olivier Langlois. 

Venos now has five ITF singles titles to his name and has won one in every non-COVID-affected season since 2019. 

Thomas Venos (left)

The singles final victory over Langlois was revenge for the previous day’s doubles final, where Langlois and his partner Yoann Quilliou defeated Venos and his Italian partner Francesco Felici in straight sets. The Canadian-Italian pair had dropped just two games in two matches heading into the final. 

Read also: Bouchard Makes Return on ITF Tour

However, Venos did not have to wait long to lift a doubles trophy. The very next week in Poland, the Canadian scored his second ITF doubles title of the season at the V Plock Cup. 

Partnering Sergei Lysov of Israel, they scrapped into the final by upsetting the top-seeded pair of Piotr Jaroszewski and Enrique Siscar Meseguer 11-9 in the match tiebreak in the semifinals. 

In the title match, Venos and Lysov again had to battle, this time holding off the second-seeded team of Jakub Dominik Bukala and Kamil Fabisiak 10-6 in the match tiebreak to get their hands on the trophy. 

Read also: Arseneault, Dong Doube-Up at Home

The 24-year-old is up to eight career ITF doubles titles, having won two each year in 2018, 2019, 2023 and now 2024. His first title of the season came in Peru back in March. 

McIntyre Makes It Two 

Venos was not the only Canadian to lift a trophy over the last month on the ITF Wheelchair Tour. 

Mitch McIntyre picked up his second quad doubles title of the season at the Biel-Bienne Indoors in Switzerland. Playing alongside Shraga Weinberg of Israel, McIntyre cruised to the title with the loss of just two games.  

Earlier in the year, McIntyre won the Arizona Open which extended his ITF doubles titles streak to three years. The win in Switzerland brings him up to eight total career ITF doubles titles. 

Markham 

The ITF Wheelchair Tour made a stop in Canada last month for the Premier Racquet Club Wheelchair Classic in Markham, ON. 

Two Canadians were crowned champion on home soil: Gary Luker in the quad singles and John Chen in the junior singles. 

John Chen (left) and Frederique Berube Perron.

Luker went undefeated in the quad event, which consisted of a four-player round robin. He lost a total of just eight games in his three matches to win his first ITF singles title since 2019 and 10th overall. 

Read also: Félix and Leylah’s Mural at IGA Stadium in Montreal

The junior draw was also a round robin, this time with just three players, and Chen was a cut above, winning all four sets he played against fellow Canadians Frederique Berube Perron and Lachlan Sandford to claim the title. 

Anne-Marie Dolinar reached the final of the women’s singles event but came up just short in the final against top seed Maria Fernanda Alves of Brazil. 

Anne-Marie Dolinar (right) and Maria Fernanda Alves.

Here is the full list of winners from the ITF Markham event: 

Men’s Champion(s) Women’s Champion(s)
Singles Jose Pablo Gil (CRC) Maria Fernanda Alves (BRA)
Doubles Jose Pablo Gil (CRC)/
Conner Stroud (USA)
Maria Fernandez Aves (BRA)/
Valeria Valverde (CRC)
Quad Gary Luker (CAN) Mixed event
Junior (mixed) John Chen (CAN) Mixed event

Road to Paris 

With just over three months to go before the start of the 2024 Paralympic Games in Paris, so far Rob Shaw is the lone Canadian to have punched their ticket.  

Read also: Shaw Wins Biggest Title of his Career in Japan

Venos’ strong month kept his hopes of qualifying for Paris alive. While he sits a number of ranking spots back of the qualifying zone at No. 56, less than 100 points separate him and the Top 32, which would put in him position for the Paralympics. 

Natalia Lanucha, the top Canadian woman in the rankings, is much farther away from qualifying, currently sitting at No. 44 (the Top 20 qualify automatically) with over 400 points between her and the qualifying zone. 

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