Florida juniors won three singles titles and five doubles championships at USTA Clay Court Nationals tournaments played across the country last week in age groups 12-18, sweeping both the singles and doubles titles in the Boys’ 18 and Girls’ 14 divisions.
Coral Gables’ Katerina Stewart rolled to the the USTA Girls 18s Clay Courts title, extending a winning streak that has now stretched to 34 matches, including two USTA Pro Circuit titles and the USTA Florida ‘Bobby Curtis’ Junior State Championships.
The 17-year-old Stewart in the final defeated Kennedy Shaffer 6-1, 6-3 at the Racquet Club of Memphis.
“I played really well today,” Stewart told www.zootennis.com. “She’s a great player, and she had some really good wins this week, but I’m happy I came through.”
Stewart in her first two matches did not drop a match, and with the win she earns a wild card into the US Open junior tournament. Her next target: a women’s main draw wild card at the US Open for winning next month’s USTA Girls 18s Hard Court Nationals in San Diego.
“It’s going to be stacked with really good players,” Stewart said. “Everyone wants that wild card — I want that wild card. Even though I’m going to the US Open juniors, that’s the big one. I know there are going to be really good players, and I love playing great competition, so that’s going to be fun.”
The USTA National Clay Court Championships Girls’ 14s final in Plantation, Fla., was an all-Florida affair, where unseeded Victoria Emma of Naples ousted No. 8 seed Sophia Edwards of Sarasota 6-2, 3-6, 6-0 for the title.
In the semifinals Emma outlasted No. 17 seed Marlee Zein of Sugar Land, Tex., 2-6, 6-4, 6-4.
Emma also won the doubles title with Anna Bright of Boca Raton, defeating the No. 1-seeded team of Malkia Menguene (College Park, Maryland) and Natasha Subhash (Fairfax, Virginia) 6-4, 6-3.
The USTA Boys’ 18 National Clay Court Championships in Delray Beach also featured an all-Florida final as No. 17 seed Tommy Paul of Coconut Creek defeated unseeded Reilly Opelka of Palm Coast 7-6, 6-1.
“We’re really good friends and live together, everyone knows that,” said Paul of his roommate at the USTA Training Center, speaking to the Sun-Sentinel. “But once we get on the court that goes away and we both want to win.”
Paul also won the doubles as the top seed with Connecticut’s William Blumberg 6-3, 6-2 over the No. 9 seeds Yancy Dennis and Brian Tsao of Maryland.
Also held in Delray Beach, Tampa’s Vasil Kirkov won the Boys’ 16s doubles title with partner Sam Riffice of California 6-1, 6-1, defeating Robert Loeb (Hilton Head, S.C.) and Alex Phillips (Peachtree City, Ga.) in the final.
The Florida tandem of Adriana Reami (Miami) and Taylor Russo (Deerfield Beach) won the Girls’ 16s doubles title in Virginia Beach, Va. The unseeded pair in the final upset the Californian No. 2 seeds Katie Chang and Claire Liu 6-4, 6-4.
Boca Raton’s Nina Gulbransen took home the Girls’ 12s doubles title in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., with partner Gabriella Price (Montebello, N.Y.) defeating Maxi Duncan (Marina Del Rey, Calif.) and Cori Gauff (Atlanta) 6-3, 6-1 in the final.
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