Elinor Shpunt is piling up wins on the Tennis Manitoba tournament circuit. Shpunt has an overall record of 16-1 in three tournaments played in 2016.
She won the girls’ U12 singles and the co-ed U18 doubles with Shawn Sophasath at the Kildonan Junior Open. At the WLTC Open, Shpunt captured titles in the women’s 4.5 singles, mixed Open doubles with Tony Weekes and mixed 4.5 doubles with Chris Shay. At the Tuxedo Junior Open, she won the girls’ U12 singles and placed second in the co-ed U18 doubles with Maya Arksey (Stefan Barre/Shawn Sophasath beat Shpunt/Arksey 7-5, 7-6 to give Shpunt her first tournament loss of 2016.)
“I think I’ve improved this year more than last year,” said Shpunt, 12, who is coached by Roland Burrell. “I think it was my tactics because first you have to find the person’s weakness and then you have to know what to do with it. Last year I was giving it (the ball) to their strongest place. This year I’ve been giving it to their weakest shot.”
Shpunt, who was born in Russia, took up tennis when she moved to Winnipeg four years ago. Her grandma introduced her to the sport.
“She’s my home coach for tennis,” Shpunt said. “(She) just motivates me to play better and better every day.”