An unseeded player beating the best junior tennis players in the state of Florida? Rare.
A 13-year-old player beating the best 18 year olds? Even more rare, and record setting.
That’s what 13-year-old Alexis Blokhina (Plantation) did on Wednesday in the final of the USTA Florida “Bobby Curtis” Junior State Singles Championships, becoming the youngest-ever player to win the girls’ 18s division, in the final defeating former girls’ 12s champion and No. 3 seed Sophia Edwards (Nokomis) 4-6, 6-3, 7-5.
In 90 degree heat and high humidity, both players during the match called trainers in the third set — Blokhina for blisters, and Edwards for dizziness during a match lasting almost three hours. Blokhina trailed by a set and a service break in the second, then went down 0-3 in the third before completing an amazing comeback win.
“I didn’t know much about her, I knew she was big, almost twice my size, and that she was a really good player,” said the diminutive Blokhina, who was towered over by most all her opponents in the 18s division play.
“I was just there to fight it out and hope for the best. I didn’t have a strategy because I’d never watched her before, so I was just trying to play my way into the match, and my game is aggressive. The weather had an impact on both of us, it was really hot and I was dying out there, hopefully I wasn’t showing it much to her, but it was really hard. This is a really prestigious tournament, one of the top tournaments in Florida so I’m really proud of myself that I could get to this level and the way I’m competing right now.”
In addition to the No. 3-seeded Edwards, Blokhina along her way to the final upended No. 1 seed Alana Wolfberg (Orlando) and No. 7 Rachele Rimondini (Boca Raton).
The boys’ 18s final was also a marathon affair, won by No. 3-seeded David Lins (Boca Raton) when his opponent, No. 6 seed Matthew Segura (Apopka), retired with injury/fatigue trailing 4-6, 7-5, 5-0. It was Lins’ first “Bobby Curtis” state title, won over his frequent opponent Segura who is the great nephew of Tennis Hall of Famer Pancho Segura.
“I just played him two weeks ago,” said Lins of Segura after the final. “I was serving down a set and down 4-5 and I held — I was struggling with my serve the whole match so that helped my confidence. I could see he was getting tired so that helped me push through to win the [second] set and then the match. I know he has a really good backhand so I was trying to keep it away from there. Toward the end I saw he was cramping so I think the [hot and humid] conditions really favored me…This is definitely a big win for me with the [college] recruiting season coming up.”
Both the girls’ and boys’ 18s finals were broadcast live with commentary and are available for viewing below or on the USTA Florida YouTube Channel (www.YouTube.com/USTAFlorida)
The 16s trophies were both captured by the top seeds, and the finals featured the top two seeds.
Top-seeded Elaine Chervinsky (Boca Raton) lifted the girls’ 16s trophy, in the final coming from a set down to defeat No. 2 Anastasia Sysoeva (Bradenton) 4-6, 6-1, 6-3. Chervinsky last year was runner-up in the girls’ 14s.
“She is a friend of mine and last year I played her in a tournament,” said Chervinsky regarding her familiarity with her opponent Sysoeva. “I came out in the second set really strong, and at 3-all in the third I felt whoever won that game was going to win the match, so I’m glad I won that game. It was really hot and it was really humid, and no matter how much water you drank, it was really hot.”
Easing to the boys’ 16s title was No. 1 seed Jameson Corsillo (Boca Raton) who was a 6-2, 6-1 winner over No. 2 Emilio Van Cotthem (Ft. Pierce).
“I knew he liked to play higher and kind of heavy, so I knew I had to step in more and take everything on the rise,” said Corsillo, who practices out of the Delray Beach Tennis Center. “So that’s what I did and it worked really good…I’d like to thank my coaches and my mom and my dad, and my dog who helped.”
Yannik Rahman (Miami) won his second “Bobby Curtis” title in the boys’ 14s final, on the heels of last year’s boys’ 12s crown. Nathan Blokhin (Plantation), brother of the 13-year-old girls’ 18s champion Alexis Blokhina, won the boys’ 12s title. Natalie Block (Plantation) in the girls’ 14s and Sophie Llewellyn (Tarpon Springs) in the girls’ 12s won their first “Bobby Curtis” titles.
Division winners (seeds in parenthesis):
Girls’ 18s: Alexis Blokhina (Plantation) d. (3) Sophia Edwards (Nokomis) 4-6, 6-3, 7-5
Boys’ 18s: (3) David Lins (Boca Raton) d. (6) Matthew Segura (Apopka) 4-6, 7-5, 5-0 Retired (injury)
Girls’ 16s: (1) Elaine Chervinsky (Boca Raton) d. (2) Anastasia Sysoeva (Bradenton) 4-6, 6-1, 6-3
Boys’ 16s: (1) Jameson Corsillo (Boca Raton) d. (2) Emilio Van Cotthem (Ft. Pierce) 6-2, 6-1
Girls’ 14s: (1) Natalie Block (Plantation) d. (2) Nikki Yanez (Sarasota) 6-3, 6-2
Boys’ 14s: (2) Yannik Rahman (Miami) d. (7) Phillip Dell (Bradenton) 5-7, 6-1, 6-4
Girls’ 12s: (1) Sophie Llewellyn (Tarpon Springs) d. (11) Natalie Outcalt (Ponte Vedra Beach) 6-1, 7-5
Boys’ 12s: (2) Nathan Blokhin (Plantation) d. (3) Tanner Povey (Indian Rocks Beach) 6-4, 6-1
The USTA Florida “Bobby Curtis” Junior State Singles 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)
Former “Bobby Curtis” champions currently on the WTA tour include Bethanie Mattek-Sands (1998 girls’ 14s) and Danielle Collins (2011 & 2009 girls’ 18s, 2006 girls’ 12s).
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 complete tournament info, including links to complete draws and results, go to www.ustaflorida.com/event/2018-usta-florida-bobby-curtis-junior-sectional-championship-boys-girls-12s-18s.