Youngest female player won in both female divisions; brothers dominate
She was the smallest and youngest one on the tennis court, but Briana Houlgrave proved that she is a giant of a player. Houlgrave captured the Bahamas Lawn Tennis Association’s (BLTA) New Year’s Tournament under-14 and under-16 girls titles yesterday at the BLTA’s National Tennis Center.
Winning the under-16 boys title was Jackson Mactaggart and securing the under-14 title was his younger brother Patrick Mactaggart.
Houlgrave played Grand Bahamian Tatyana Madu in both division finals which were played yesterday because of rain on Monday. She said she was happy to pull off the double.
“It feels amazing,” Houlgrave said. “I am proud of myself. I didn’t actually think I could pull it off. It means so much to me considering that I am the youngest and it is the first time that I am eligible to play in the under-16 division.”
The 12-year-old played into the under-16 division unranked but was able to take down top seeded Saphirre Ferguson in the semifinals and then Madu in the final. Madu was her teammate on the BLTA’s under-12 girls national team last year and came into the under-16 match ranked at number two. Houlgrave took down Madu in straight sets, 7-5 and 6-2. In the first, Madu had a 4-2 lead before Houlgrave battled back. It was at 2-4 down in the opening set when Houlgrave went into her bag and pulled out a notebook. She knelt and looked at her notes and came back and dominated.
“It was an extremely tiring match. I was putting the balls out and was not closing my racket. When I looked at my notes, I had to remind myself as to what to do and how to do it. That was how I fixed it,” Houlgrave said.
On Tuesday morning, the duo played a three-set match in the under-14 girls division, ending up with Houlgrave winning. Madu won the first set 6-4 before Houlgrave tied the match in the second set with a 7-5 victory. A 10-7 third set tiebreak in favor of Houlgrave helped her pull off the upset over the number one seed in that division.
Jackson Mactaggart said he had the best game of the tournament, going up against William McCartney in the under-16 boys final. He took down McCartney, 6-3 and 6-1.
“It feels good to be the champion. I love winning. I learned to fight for every point and to have fun. I thought the match went well for me,” Mactaggart said. “I definitely played my best in the tournament in this match. My opponent played a great match too and he played hard. The points were long and he was making me run a lot and tire me after each point. I had to give it my all for every point.”
He added that the windy conditions were a little tricky but he was able to adjust.
In the under-14 boys category, Patrick Mactaggart said he did not play his best but was happy to take down Chase Newbold in straight sets, 6-2 and 6-1.
“I am happy to be the champion,” Mactaggart said. “I’ll look to come out stronger next time. I didn’t play my best. I think I could have played better by cutting down on the errors and having less double faults.”
The younger Mactaggart said he was happy that both he and his brother won. All of the players will head back to training, preparing for upcoming tournaments.