'Women need better rewards'
Ryon Jones, Staff Reporter
Women's open second seed, Khalilah Johnson, expressed disappointment at the absence of cash incentives for females participating in the fourth Jamaica National (JN) Open Tennis Championship being staged at the Liguanea Club.
Johnson got by Immaculate Conception High's Rhea Thompson in straight sets 6-1, 6-2 on yesterday's fourth day to progress to the second round.
"I am extremely disappointed; it is actually a sore point," Johnson told The Gleaner. "I realise that in most of the tournaments men get this very attractive grand prize and women just a weekend for two; basically nothing, no incentive really."
Johnson was pleased with the way she played to beat Thompson.
"I just pretty much use that as a practice match and try to keep my focus for each point and keep my eyes on the ball, so it was pretty much a warm-up match," Johnson said.
Thompson, on the other hand, is looking to improve, as she hopes to secure a scholarship.
"In this case, my opponent was just better than me, but I still gave it my all and I am proud of myself," Thompson said. "From this tournament I am getting more experience, so I will just keep trying until I do better. I want to get a scholarship and in order to get it I have to keep on top."
In the other women's matches completed at press time, fourth seed Shellita Haughton eased passed Marie Legault in straight sets 6-0, 6-0, while Alex Marzouca turned back the challenge of Chantaul Toyloy 6-2, 6-2.
In the men's class three category, Junior Haldane got by Terrence Forrester 6-1, 6-1.
Today's penultimate day will be jam-packed with activities both on and off the courts. The day's play is slated to serve off at 9 a.m. with 12 matches down to be contested in the morning session.
Women's top seed Ffion Fletcher will face either Monique Hanson or Imega Breeze-McNab in one of the opening encounters. Men's open top seed, Damion Johnson, will take to the court against Atton Burrell at 11 a.m. Burrell had defeated Jevaughn 6-1, 6-0 to reach the quarter-finals.
Action will break after the 11 a.m. matches when persons will have the opportunity to visit the JN Village where they can sign up for various JN services and win spot prizes.
Focus will return to the courts at 3:00 in the afternoon when the men's class two and three semi-finals will be contested. The men's and women's open semi-finals take centre stage at 5 p.m.
The finals in all classes will be played on Sunday with matches scheduled to commence at 3 p.m.