June 10th, 2015

10 1st-Time Champions at 2015 USTA Florida Jr. State Championships

Bobby Curtis Junior State Championships

Only two No. 1 seeds triumphed, while an unseeded player captured the Girls’ 18s title at the USTA Florida “Bobby Curtis” Junior State Championships, which wrapped up Wednesday including age divisions 18-10.

The 67th edition of the USTA Florida “Bobby Curtis” Junior State Championships, Florida’s top junior singles tennis event, was held at the Florida Tennis Center in Daytona Beach and three other Central Florida locations on June 6-10, 2015.

Age Division Winners (seeds in parenthesis):

Boys’ 18: (14) Alexander Knight (Miami Shores, FL) d. (15) Davey Roberts (Palm Coast, FL) 6-2, 6-3
Girls’ 18: Shene Disbergen (Fort Lauderdale, FL) d. (1) Mia Horvit (Palm City, FL) 6-2, 6-4
Boys’ 16: (5) Michael Heller (Weston, FL) d. James Ignatowich (Wellington, FL) 7-5, 6-3
Girls’ 16: (3) Victoria Emma (Naples, FL) d. Whitney Osuigwe (Bradenton, FL) 6-4, 4-6, 6-4
Boys’ 14: (1) Tyler Zink (Lakewood Ranch, FL) d. (7) Dylan Breslaw (Port St Lucie, FL) 6-3, 6-3
Girls’ 14: (5) Nina Gulbransen (Boca Raton, FL) d. (6) Rosie Dickson (Bradenton, FL) 3-6, 7-6(5), 6-1
Boys’ 12: (6) Michael Nicholls (Aventura, FL) d. (5) Kian Vakili (Longwood, FL) 7-5, 6-1
Girls’ 12: (1) Charlotte Owensby (Boca Raton, FL) d. (6) Emily De Oliveira (Bradenton, FL) 7-6(2), 6-3
Boys’ 10:  Alexander Di Staulo (Weston, FL) d. Francisco Montana (Cutler Bay, FL) 4-0, 5-3
Girls’ 10:  Lilly Pleasant (Daytona Beach, FL) d. Grace Levelston (Vero Beach, FL) 4-1, 5-3

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Ft. Lauderdale’s unseeded Disbergen surprised former Girls’ 16s winner and the No. 1 seed Horvit for the Girls’ 18s crown.

“I feel great, it’s a nice accomplishment,” said Disbergen, who trains with her father as her coach on two courts on their property, also competing together at USTA National Father-Daughter tournaments. “[Horvit] hits flatter than I do and comes in on the high balls, so I had to keep it out of her swing zone.”

The Boys’ 18s title was won by the No. 14-seeded Knight, who is a freshman on the varsity team at the University of Michigan. The lefty with the heavy topspin had competed in every age division at the junior state championships, with third place his prior best finish.

“It’s good to finally win one,” said Knight, decked out in Michigan maize and blue. “I’ve put expectations on myself to win the tournament [previously] and I learned from that — you come in really tight and lose your focus. I just wanted to control what I could control. I came back to play because I never won it, and its something you want to win as a junior. I also need to get into K-Zoo [USTA Boys’ 18 nationals in Kalamazoo, Mich.] and I needed some [ranking] points, and I needed to defend some points here.”

Weston’s diminutive Heller, the Boy’s 16s champion, overcame the big serve of the unseeded Ignatowich, out-steadying the Wellington native while displaying an explosive forehand of his own.

“It was tough to break his serve and it was back and forth, but I think I competed a little bit harder than him in the end,” Heller said. “It was tough conditions, and in the second I think I was a little mentally tougher — it was a good match.” Heller picked Ivy League schools, the University of Michigan and the University of Florida as some of his early college front-runners.

Naples’ Emma battled to beat the 13-year-old Osuigwe for the Girls’ 16s title, playing big off the ground with timely net approaches to come out on top 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 in hot and humid conditions.

“I come in all the time on clay, I have more time,” Emma said. “On hardcourt I actually stay back more.” It was a triumphant return to Daytona Beach for Emma after battling injuries this year, and last year at the event playing only one game before withdrawing due to a fracture in her shoulder.

“I want to go to college for a little bit and then turn pro,” says the rising high school junior at Sanchez-Casal Academy in Naples. “Then go back to college because I want to be an anesthesiologist.”

Each division winner automatically qualifies for the USTA National Hard Courts tournament later this year in their age division.

Tennis Warehouse is an official sponsor of the 2015 USTA Florida “Bobby Curtis” Junior State Championships along with Raymond James, Evert Tennis Academy and Seminole County.

The USTA Florida “Bobby Curtis” Junior State Championships is the most competitive USTA Section junior championships in the U.S., spawning the most players of any USTA Section to go on to the professional circuit and rank No. 1 in the world. Former “Bobby Curtis” champs who have gone on to rank No. 1 in the world on the ATP and WTA rankings:

* Chris Evert (1971 Girls’ 18, 1970-69 Girls’ 16, 1968 Girls’ 14, and 1966 Girls’ 10 champion)
* Jennifer Capriati (1986 Girls’ 12 champion)
* Jim Courier (1986 Boys’ 18 champion)
* Andy Roddick (1996 Boys’ 14, 1994 Boys’ 12 champion)

Other notable winners over the years have been current WTA player (and 2015 French Open women’s doubles and mixed doubles winner) Bethanie Mattek-Sands (1998 Girls’ 14 champion); three-time Grand Slam runner-up, two-time Olympic gold medalist and current U.S. Fed Cup Captain Mary Joe Fernandez (1983 Girls’ 14, 1982 Girls’ 12); former world No. 8-ranked Carling Bassett (1980 Girls’ 12); former world No. 7 and current USTA National Coach Kathy Rinaldi (1980 Girls’ 14, 1979 Girls’ 12); former world No. 7 and current USTA National Coach and U.S. David Cup Coach Jay Berger (1985-84 Boys’ 18, 1983 Boys’ 16); former world No. 3 and two-time Slam doubles winner Brian Gottfried (1970 Boys’ 18, 1966 Boys’ 14, 1963-64 Boys’ 12); former world No. 5 and two-time French Open semifinalist Eddie Dibbs (1969 Boys’ 18, 1967 Boys’ 16, 1965 Boys’ 14); and former ATP player and legendary tennis organizer Charlie Pasarell (1958 Boys’ 15, 1957 Boys’ 13).

In 2012 the tournament was renamed the USTA Florida “Bobby Curtis” Junior State Championships in honor of legendary Florida junior tennis organizer Bobby Curtis.

For more tournament info go to our event page.

TennisLink Tournament Page Links:

BG 18-16
BG 14-12
BG 10s