January 3rd, 2017
Florida’s Blake, Alshon Win Gold Balls at USTA National Winter Chps. Tennis
Two Florida juniors traveled cross country during the holiday season to bring home USTA Gold Balls from the 2016 USTA National Winter Championships. One of the gems of the USTA national junior tennis circuit, the Winter Championships were played on Dec. 27, 2016-Jan. 2, 2017 in Arizona at the Scottsdale Ranch Park (18s and 16s) and the Reffkin Tennis Center in Tucson (14s and 12s).
Top-seeded Angelica Blake of Boca Raton won the Girls’ 16s title, in the final defeating No. 4-seeded Dasha Kourkina of Brooklyn, N.Y., 7-6(4), 6-0.
Coached by Nick Saviano and Eric Riley, the No. 1-ranked player in Florida did not drop a set throughout the tournament, and will likely see her national ranking rise to No. 2, according to her father Paul.
“This capped a good year for her having won the Easter Bowl in April and reaching the Orange Bowl semis last month,” Paul Blake said. “She also won two ITF doubles titles and was a singles finalist in another one in 2016.”
Dominant throughout the event, Blake won nine sets by a score of 6-0 or 6-1 out of 14 sets played.
Another Boca Raton resident, Christian Alshon, won the Boy’s 18s doubles title in upset fashion.
Seeded No. 7 with Trey Hilderbrand of San Antonio, Texas, the pair in the final upended No. 5 seeds Maxwell Freeman/Matthew Lord (Ashland, Mass./Bloomfield, Conn.) 6-7(3), 6-4, 6-1.
Alshon-Hilderbrand also posted an upset in the quarterfinals, beating No. 3 seeds Alexander Brown (Urbandale, Iowa) and Brady Draheim (Prairie Village, Kan.) 7-6(3), 6-1.
The USTA National Winter Championships consisted of 128 singles players and 64 doubles teams in the 18s, 16s, 14s and 12s age divisions.