Florida players swept-up six titles in eight finals on the green clay last weekend at the USTA National Clay Court Championships, held at seven sites in Florida, Alabama and South Carolina.
Bringing home singles titles were Boca Raton’s Gabriella Price, who as the No. 17 seed won the girls’ 18s title in Mount Pleasant, S.C.; Boca Raton’s Lara Smejkal, who as the No. 15 seed upset the top seed in the final for the girls’ 14 title in Plantation, Fla.; and No. 3-seeded Abhishek Thorat of Lithia, Fla., who won the boys’ 12s title in Orlando.
Price has been sidelined much of the year by back and ankle injuries.
“My back injury still bothers me, but my ankle is OK,” she told The Post & Courier.
Fleming Islands’ Logan Zapp, a former USTA Florida “Bobby Curtis” state singles winner, came up just short in the boy’s 18s final in Delray Beach, as the No. 2 seed falling 6-4, 6-7, 7-6 to top seed Leighton Allen of Austin, Texas.
Doubles titles were won by Zapp and partner Aryan Chaudhary (Santa Clara, Calif.), who in the boys’ 18s final as the No. 17 seeds upset the No. 8 seeds; Gainesville’s Ben Shelton who with partner Maxwell Smith (Daniel Island, S.C.) won the boys’ 16s title in Delray Beach as the No. 2 seeds; and last year’s “Bobby Curtis” winner Alexis Blokhina (Plantation, Fla.), who with partner Natalia Perez (Guaynabo, P.R.) won the girls’ 14s title in Plantation, in the final beating the Florida pair of Madison Smith (Delray Beach)/Valeria Ray (Doral).
Miramar’s Jamilah Snells came up just short of an upset win in the girls’ 18s doubles final, unseeded with partner Maxi Duncan (Irvine, Calif.), falling to No. 13 seeds Lauren Stein (Paradise Valley, Ariz.)/Reilly Tran (Dunn Loring, Va.).
Price with the singles win in the girls’ 18s, her first USTA National Championship title, earns a wild card into this summer’s US Open Junior Championships and a singles main draw wild card entry into a USTA Pro Circuit W25 event. Smejkal’s girls’ 14s singles champion earns her a wild card entry into the singles main draw of a Junior ITF Grade 4 tournament to be determined.
Each year more than 120,000 players compete in USTA junior tournaments. Players compete in levels of competition through earned advancement in the 10s, 12s, 14s, 16s and 18s age divisions. USTA junior tournaments help kids take their game as far as they want — high school, college or pros — or just have fun competing.
To view the full division results go to www.usta.com.