Vacationing Thomas cashes in with girls' title at Guardian Life Open Tennis Championship
Thirteen-year-old American Gibson Thomas was the toast of the 15th staging of the Guardian Life Open Junior Tennis Championships held at the Liguanea Club, New Kingston, on the weekend.
Gibson is from Mount Vernon in New York and began playing tennis at age five. While on vacation here, she decided to enter the competition and as luck would have it, defeated Selena Blythe 6-4, 6-2 to win the girls' Under-16 title.
"It is my first time playing a tournament in Jamaica. During the season overseas, we play inside because it is either snowing or raining. It is cold there, but here it is sunny so I had to keep hydrated. It is really a very different experience," Thomas said.
In semi-final action, Thomas defeated Olivia Simms 6-1, 6-0 to book her spot in the final, while Blythe defeated Iuesha Sterling 7-6, 6-2.
"In the first set it was a bit harder," Thomas pointed out. "We were both going confidently, but nervous at the same time. She kept moving me around, and the wind played a part big as well.
"In the second set the wind calmed down, but, by then, we were a bit tired and her serve wasn't as good as in the first set."
Meanwhile, the boys' Under-18 final was won by Cliff Dwyer, who defeated Brandon Tom 6-4, 6-0.
In the semis, Dwyer defeated Dominic Wilson 6-1, 6-4 and Tom beat Gregory Spencer 6-0, 6-1.
"In the first set the conditions were terrible, so I had to change my game. I had to keep hitting every ball at the same place because the wind was going in one direction. It was also a bit nerve-wracking because the scores kept going up and down. Fortunately, I got through and broke the serve 5-4," Dwyer explained.
"In the second set, I had a lot of confidence because I pulled through the first set. I stepped in and started taking the ball early. The score in the second set would tell that I played an almost-perfect set," Dwyer added.
Meanwhile, the girls' Under-12 was won by Savannah Thompson, who defeated Cai Drummond 3-1, 2-1, while Kailey Chin got by Giselle Sang, by default, to claim the girls' Under-14 title.
In the boys' Under-16 action, Myles Harrison beat Ruben Pinchas 7-5, 6-2; Tariq Simon defeated Jordon Parua 6-1, 6-3 to take the boys' Under-14 title and Cole McNair defeated Keyondre Clarke 8-2 for the boys' Under-12 crown.