Northwood Champions at the Independent Schools’ Association National Tennis Championships!
On Monday 16 May the Northwood College for Girls’ Under 13 and Under 15 tennis teams travelled to the National Tennis Centre in Roehampton to compete in the Independent Schools Association National Tennis Championships.
On a gloriously sunny day the girls experienced playing in singles and doubles competitions using the facilities and courts where the elite of British Tennis train.
In the morning the girls played in their respective singles tournaments. The Year 8 girls were in four separate groups, playing three matches each that saw them come up against some strong opponents. Although none of the girls progressed through to the knockout stages, they all played well and enjoyed the experience.
In the Under 15 championships there were again four groups and, with six girls entered, two groups saw Northwood College for Girls playing against each other. Rhianna Khakria and Carys Dale played brilliantly and both came 3rd in their groups, just missing out on going through to the knockout stages. Jasmine Dedakia and Dominique Olaleye were unbeaten in the group games and progressed through to the knockout stages as the winners of their group. Keya Shah and Kareena Kamdar played extremely well and progressed through to the knockout stage as runners up in their groups. Unfortunately, due to the draw, this saw two quarter finals of Northwood College for Girls versus Northwood College for Girls.
Jasmine Dedakia and Dominique Olaleye progressed to the semi-finals but unfortunately against each other. Both girls were nervous about playing each other in competition and a tense match ensued. Dominique opened the serving and won the first game; Jasmine held her serve to make it 1–1; in the third game Jasmine broke Dominique’s serve to take a 2-1 lead but Dominique broke straight back to level the score at 2-2.
The format of the competition meant they now played a tie break to 5 points. Dominique served first but lost the point, 1-0 to Jasmine; Dominique fought back claiming both Jasmine’s service points to take the score to 2-1. Both were convincing in their shots and long rallies were played.
Dominique sent Jasmine out wide with a deep drive down the line; Jasmine kept the ball in play but Dominique, in a commanding position where she could have taken a two point lead, smashed the ball into the net letting Jasmine back into the match at 2-2. Further long rallies followed and Jasmine gained strength and won the tie break 5-2.
In the final Jasmine played against a girl from Bredon School in Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire. Her opponent was very consistent, returning every ball Jasmine hit. After the first four games Jasmine found herself 1-3 down, however, she soon found her form and strength and won the next four games to claim the ISA Under 15 National Tennis Championships Singles Title 5–3. An excellent achievement, well done Jasmine!
In the afternoon the girls participated in the doubles tournament. All five Northwood College for Girls’ pairs reached the knockout stages (quarter-finals) which is an excellent achievement in itself. In the Under 13 competition this meant that again Northwood College for Girls played against Northwood College for Girls.
Fizza Bukhari and Nikki Davarzani were up against Hafsah Ahmed and Serina Chawla. The match was well contested; Hafsah and Serina were the eventual winners at 3-1 and progressed to the semi-finals. Here they met the eventual winners who were a very strong pair. All four players Nikki, Hafsah, Fizza and Serina played some great tennis throughout the day and it was really pleasing to watch their confidence grow with every game they played.
In the Under 15 competition all three pairs also reached the quarter-finals, having either won or been runners up in their groups.
Carys Dale served incredibly well throughout the day and her pairing with the hard hitting Rhianna Khakria made them formidable opponents. In their quarter final they played Keya Shah and Kareena Kamdar in a well matched contest with many games going to deuce but they narrowly lost in the end.
Jasmine and Dominique easily won their quarter-final, then played Kareena and Keya in the semi-final to reach the final against a pair from Trinity School, Devon. In a tense and exciting match that saw both pairs make mistakes to allow the other to take advantage, eventually Dominique and Jasmine started to gain the upper hand. It is a tribute to the three years of playing as a pair and the hours of practice they have put in every Friday lunchtime throughout this time, that they intuitively know where each other is on the court and make it impossible for their opponents to break through. Dominique and Jasmine won the final to claim the Under 15 ISA National Tennis Doubles Title, an outstanding achievement and thoroughly deserved by two exceptional tennis players, well done! - Miss Simpson, Head of Physical Education.