Kaplan qualifies for tennis nationals

Lara Kaplan with her coach Piotr Haczek at Maccabi’s White City courts. Photo: Shane Desiatnik

SINCE earning her first WTA rankings points in April at the ACT International in Canberra, Maccabi NSW Tennis junior Lara Kaplan has gone from strength to strength at ITF and AMT tournaments under the guidance of coach Piotr Haczek.

The 16-year-old Moriah College student and current Maccabi NSW Club Sportswoman of the Year is now ranked sixth in the country for her age group and 91st in open women’s, which last week saw her gain automatic qualification in singles and doubles for the 16&U Australian Championships, to be held at Melbourne Park from December 12-16.

She is also the first reserve for the 18&U championships that begin on December 1.

At the Nepean Summer Open last week, Kaplan convincingly won both of her qualifying singles before losing in the main draw to the fourth seed, 18-year-old Jessica Fowler.

“I’m feeling more comfortable playing in big tournaments now; I’ve really improved my serve and I know my own game much better,” Kaplan said.

“My aim at the nationals is to make the quarter-finals.”

She was named Maccabi NSW Tennis Club 2018 Junior Player of the Year earlier this month.

Jesse Gothelf.

Fellow club junior Jesse Gothelf, 13, made the reserve list for the boys’ 14&U Australian Championships in singles and doubles.

The Emanuel School student was injured for much of this year, but bounced back at the recent NSW/ACT Championships, beating the sixth seed in the first round.

In other good news for the club, 14-year-old Luca Calderon-Havas, also an Emanuel student, won the prestigious boys’ U15 AICES school championships.

Alex Placek won the club’s 2018 award for most improved player, and Benji Klotz won the Lloyd Burman Junior Sportsperson Award.

SHANE DESIATNIK

Luca Calderon-Havas.