By Ryan McCracken on September 11, 2017.
Calvin and Tracy Heller completed the three-peat under the lights on Saturday.
The husband-and-wife team defeated Craig Weich and Linda Norris, 6-2, 7-6, to take their third consecutive Medicine Hat Open mixed doubles championship.
It was Calvin’s third championship of the summer after winning the men’s singles title in May then clinching the doubles crown alongside teammate Jin Shin, but those both pale in comparison to winning with his wife.
“To be able to play mixed doubles with your wife and be part of this club and actually win the tournament, it’s a special feeling,” said Calvin. “If I can win any of them, it’s the mixed I’d like to win.”
The victory didn’t come easily, however. Norris and Weich gave the Hellers a run for their money in the second set, with Norris pressing the play on Calvin to help force a tiebreaker.
“I do enjoy getting into a bit of a forehand exchange with Calvin, especially when I can win the point,” said Norris. “There were a couple times I was going cross-court. I know my odds aren’t very good for always winning those points, especially against Calvin. But I talked to my partner about changing it up and he said, ‘No, keep putting it cross-court, it’s working.'”
Tracy added the match seemed destined for a third set, which would have shifted the momentum squarely in Norris and Weich’s favour. While the Hellers ultimately found success by simplifying their approach, Tracy admits the second set was truly a handful.
‘The momentum kept shifting back and forth. Linda battled Calvin on those baseline shots. She was right with him all the way,” she said. “And Craig is awesome, he’s a huge man so he covers a lot of ground and being a lefty, his serve is very challenging.”
As for her teammate, Tracy added it’s a joy competing alongside her husband — for the most part.
“Calvin and I, like all married couples you know each other’s body language and sometimes it’s not always positive. But we try to encourage each other to make the simple shots, the ones we’re able to make. Whatever happens on the other side of the net you can’t control.”
In a change of pace from previous years, the club opted to hold the mixed doubles championships under the lights on Saturday evening as opposed to waiting for the following afternoon. While it was a small change, Calvin says it went a long way.
“It was so fun to be under the lights tonight. It’s such a great setting,” he said. “We had people out cheering us on, it was nice and cool, it felt like we were in New York.”
Richelle and Doug Thomas won the consolation side with a 6-3, 6-1 straight sets win over CoraLee and Kevin Riehl.
Brooke and Myles Pheifer took home the intermediate championship after defeating Eryn and Ryan Comeau in straight sets, 6-1 and 6-4, while Susan Jacques and Noel Thomas earned the intermediate consolation crown with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Pam Douville and Joe Ciona.
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