Younger age division players took center stage during the finals of the 2020 USTA Florida “Bobby Curtis” Junior Section Championships 12s & 14s, where the top 3 seeds captured 3 out of the 4 divisions up for grabs. The event was contested Oct. 10-12, 2020, at the Delray Beach Tennis Center in Delray Beach, Fla.
In 90-degree heat and high humidity, top-seeded Daniel Patsula (Miramar) dominated the boys’ 12s division, breezing through the quarter and semifinals with victories over the No. 7 and No. 4 seeds. In the final, Patsula outlasted No. 3 seed Jack Lindstrom (Satellite Beach) 7-6, 6-2. Patsula was barely tested throughout the tournament, winning three 6-0 sets through five rounds.
The 5th grader is ranked No. 3 nationally and No. 1 in Florida and the Southeast on TennisRecruiting.net’s recruiting rankings. In 2019, Patsula reached the second round in the “Bobby Curtis” singles championships before falling to eventual champion Yubel Ubri. He followed that appearance with a fantastic showing in the 2019 USTA Florida “Bobby Curtis” Green Ball Sectional Championships, where he powered through five rounds to the boys’ final and overwhelmed No. 2-seeded Andrea Elias Mato Bisarini to claim the championship title.
The girls’ 12s final saw No. 5 seed Zaire Clarke (Greenacres) take down No. 6 seed Adla Lopez (Boynton Beach) 6-2, 7-6. Clarke is a first-time winner of a “Bobby Curtis” title, and it was her first-ever entry into the event.
The boys’ side of the 14s saw an upset in the final when No. 3-seeded Jacob Olar (Sarasota) topped No. 1 seed Calvin Baierl (Naples) 7-6, 6-2. It was a first Florida state title for Olar, who most recently captured wins in the boys’ 14 division at the USTA Florida Level 4 Summer Smash Championships in Delray Beach, the Celsius Spring Classic Level 7 in Sarasota, and in the NGTA Level 6 at Longwood Athletic Club.
Top-seeded Akasha Urhobo (Fort Lauderdale) defended her seeding in the girls’ 14s to claim her first “Bobby Curtis” title, with a steamroll 6-0, 6-1 win over No. 4 seed Katerina Shabashkevich (Boca Raton). Urhobo cruised through the early rounds, including defeating No. 7 seed and the 2019 girls’ 12s champion Alex Ackman (Winter Garden) in the quarterfinals. According to TennisRecruiting.com’s recruiting rankings, the 8th grader is ranked No. 1 in both Florida and the Southeast and No. 2 nationally.
Champions and finalists (seeds in parenthesis):
Boys’ 12s: (1) Daniel Patsula (Miramar) d. (3) Jack Lindstrom (Satellite Beach) 7-6, 6-2
Boys’ 14s: (3) Jacob Olar (Sarasota) d. (1) Calvin Baierl (Naples) 7-6, 6-2
Girls’ 12s: (5) Zaire Clarke (Greenacres) d. (6) Adla Lopez (Boynton Beach) 6-2, 7-6
Girls’ 14s: (1) Akasha Urhobo (Fort Lauderdale) d. (4) Katerina Shabashkevich (Boca Raton) 6-0, 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 are Chris Evert (1971 18s, 1970-69 16s, 1968 14s, and 1966 10s champion), Jennifer Capriati (1986 12s champion), Jim Courier (1986 18s champion) and Andy Roddick (1996 14s, 1994 12s champion).
Other notable winners over the years have been current WTA players Amanda Anisimova (2014 14s, 2011 10s champion), Sofia Kenin (2010 12s), Bethanie Mattek-Sands (1998 14s) and Danielle Collins (2011 & 2009 18s, 2006 12s); three-time Grand Slam runner-up and two-time Olympic gold medalist Mary Joe Fernandez (1983 14s, 1982 12s); former world No. 8-ranked Carling Bassett (1980 12s); former world No. 7 and current U.S. Fed Cup Captain Kathy Rinaldi (1980 14s, 1979 12s); former world No. 7 Jay Berger (1985-84 18s, 1983 16s); former world No. 3 and two-time Slam doubles winner Brian Gottfried (1970 18s, 1966 14s, 1963-64 12s); former world No. 5 and two-time French Open semifinalist Eddie Dibbs (1969 18s, 1967 16s, 1965 14s); and former ATP player and legendary tennis organizer Charlie Pasarell (1958 15s, 1957 13s).
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 full results, go to tennislink.usta.com.