Canadian wins Pro Circuit Challenger

By WESLEY HALLMAN / Sports Editor

Heidi El Tabakh continued her recent success by claiming the singles’ championship at the USTA $25,000 Pro Circuit Challenger tournament April 15 at the Pelham Racquet Club.

Tabakh, a 25-year-old Canadian citizen who was born in Alexandria, Egypt, defeated two-time tournament champion Edina Gallovits-Hall of Romania 3-6, 6-2, 6-4 in the singles’ championship match. Tabakh represented the country of her berth until 2005, but is now representing Canada.

The title marked Tabakh’s second consecutive tournament championship after she won a $25,000 Pro Circuit Challenger tournament April 8 at River Hills Club in Jackson, Miss. Tabakh owns six Pro Circuit titles dating back to 2003.

Tabakh, currently ranked the No. 249 player in the USTA women’s tennis circuit rankings, advanced to the singles’ championship match after defeating Mariana Duque-Marino of Colombia 2-6, 7-6, 6-2 in the semifinals April 14.

Tabakh defeated tournament favorite CoCo Vandeweghe of the United States 6-3, 6-3 in the tournament semifinals April 13. Vandeweghe, the neice of former National Basketball Association player and coach KiKi Vandeweghe, entered the tournament as one of the top-ranked players from the United States in the field.

Gallovits-Hall, who claimed titles in Pelham in 2007 and 2010, received $1,666 after finishing runner-up in the tournament. Gallovits-Hall entered the tournament as the No. 96 ranked player in the USTA women’s tennis circuit rankings.

Julie Coin of France and Marie-Eve Pelletier of Canada claimed the USTA $25,000 Pro Circuit Challenger tournament doubles’ championship April 15 at the Pelham Racquet Club.

Coin and Pelletier defeated Elena Bovina and Ekaterina Bychkova of Russia 7-5, 6-4 in the doubles’ championship.

The championship matches wrapped up the seven-day tournament, which included a USTA 10-and-under kids’ clinic for the first time. Dozens of 10-and-under children in the Birmingham metro participated in drills with Pelham Racquet Club members and professional tennis players competing in the tournament in the clinic, which took place before the tournament’s quarterfinal matches April 13.