Former Trail tennis whiz helps Canada to semifinals

Luka Vukovic, 14, helped take Canada's Junior Tennis team to the semifinals in Prostejov, Czech Republic.

Former Trail resident Luka Vukovic, 14, helped Canada’s Junior Tennis team to the semifinals at the World ITF Junior World tennis championship in Prostejov, Czech Republic.

The Canadian team won three straight matches over France, 2-1, China 3-0, and Brazil, 2-1, to reach the semifinal where they fell to Korea on Thursday 3-0.

Minjong Park claimed the opening rubber, defeating Canada’s Alex-Antoine Marquis 6-1 and 6-4 and then sealed its place in the final when No. 1 Seonyong Han  defeated Canada’s No. 1 ranked Vukovic 6-1 and 6-4.

The doubles saw Han and Joonhee Yoon take on Marquis and Nick Lagaev, and the scoreline reflected the two singles matches, with Korea producing an impressive performance for a 6-3 and 6-1 win and a 3-0 scoreline in the tie.

In the quarter final against Brazil, Vukovic stormed back from an opening-set 7-5 setback against Joao Lopes Ferreira to win 5-7, 6-2, and 6-1 and send the tie into a deciding doubles rubber.

Vukovic teamed up with Marquis for the doubles rubber as the pair faced Mateus Pucinelli Almeida and Mateus Alves. There was nothing to separate the teams in the opening set which went to a tiebreak, and the Canadians won it 7-2.

After that, there was no stopping them and they raced through the second set, taking it 6-1, and booking their place in the semifinals against Korea.

Spain defeated the U.S. to advance to Friday’s final against Korea. Canada will play the U.S. for bronze.

Vukovic helped Canada qualify for the junior worlds in second place behind the United States following a three-set victory over American Adam Neff in a singles match at the North-Central and Caribbean qualifying tournament in Boca Raton, Florida in May.

Vukovic lives in Burnaby and trains at the Elite Tennis Academy in Richmond under high performance coach Vadim Korkh.

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