Lions sweep tennis singles titles

From left, Valerie Ushanova and Ahmed Shebl dressed in York pride

From left, Valerie Ushanova and Ahmed Shebl dressed in York prideYork University Lions tennis players Ahmed Shebl and Valerie Ushanova swept the men’s and women’s singles titles at the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) tennis championships in Oshawa, Ont., this past weekend.

Shebl’s win helped the Lions claim the OUA silver medal in the men’s team standings, while the women finished in fourth place. The Western University Mustangs won both the men’s and women’s banners.

From left, Valerie Ushanova and Ahmed Shebl

Shebl recorded three straight three-set match wins at the championships. In the final against the University of Toronto’s Zain Manji, he won the first set in a tiebreak to take an early lead. Manji got the break he needed in the second set to take it 6-3 and even the match. In an exciting third set, Shebl pulled out the 6-3 victory to capture the gold medal.

He advanced to the final of the top flight after a stunning upset of Vincent Chan of the University of Waterloo Warriors, who won the individual championship last season, in the semifinals. He won that match by a score of 7-6, 4-6, 6-2 and also defeated Western’s Thomas Young 6-4, 3-6, 6-1 in the first round.

Ushanova, on the other hand, was dominant in her final against Marni Venter of the Mustangs. The Toronto native dropped only three games in the match en route to the gold medal, winning 6-2, 6-1. She had also posted a big upset in an earlier round, taking out the top seed from the University of Toronto, Aya Bara, in three sets in the semifinals.

She also won her first-round match over Alison Drainie of the Warriors, by a score of 6-2, 7-5.

Shebl was also competing in the doubles final alongside Lorent Kryeziu, but the two could not muster the same magic that saw Shebl win the singles title. They went down in the final by a score of 8-1 to Chan and Nachiket Yardi of the Waterloo Warriors.

Three other Lions were competing in individual finals on Sunday but all of them were defeated by their opponents. David Kishlyansky lost to Tomohiro Ono of the Mustangs in a 6-7, 6-4, 6-0 three-setter in the men’s second flight, Kryeziu was knocked off by Matthew Jaekel, also of the Mustangs, in the men’s third flight, and Kelsi Smith went down to Western’s Michelle Standescu by a score of 6-3, 6-3 in the women’s fourth flight.