January 7th, 2020

Florida’s Shelton, Zapp, More Win at USTA National Winter Chps. Tennis

Junior Tournaments Youth Tennis News

Florida tennis juniors won four titles in six finals last week when the USTA National Winter Championships were held in Orlando at the USTA National Campus, and in Tucson, Ariz., at the Reffkin Tennis Center, on Dec. 28, 2019-Jan. 3, 2020.

Divisions were contested in the 18s and 16s (Orlando) and 14s and 12s (Tucson) divisions, consisting of 128 singles players and 64 doubles teams in each division across all age groups.

Capturing top singles honors in the 18s divisions were Logan Zapp (Fleming Island, Fla.) and Emma Shelton (Gainesville, Fla.).

Shelton, a freshman at the University of South Carolina, as the No. 17-seeded underdog in the girls’ 18s final upset top-seeded Sarah Hamner (Fort Collins, Col.) 6-1, 1-6, 6-3 at the USTA National Campus.

“Emma has been committed to her game throughout the tournament and has shown that she has reached another level,” said USC head coach Kevin Epley, speaking to The Media Times. “Her stamina and tenacity gave her a boost during the tournament too. We are so happy that she can start the spring campaign with a [USTA] golden ball under her belt. This will greatly help their self-confidence.”

Zapp, the top seed in the boys’ 18s, defeated No. 8-seed and high school junior Ben Shelton (Gainesville, Fla.), brother of Emma, 6-7(5), 7-6(3), 6-4 in the final. The Sheltons are the children of Bryan Shelton, former ATP World Tour pro and men’s tennis coach at the University of Florida.

Zapp of Fleming Island, just north of Jacksonville, came within a match of a singles-doubles sweep before retiring in the final at 4-6, 6-1 with partner Aryan Chaudhary (Santa Clara, Calif.) as the No. 3 seeds, losing to the No. 4-seeded team of Keshav Chopra (Marietta, Ga.) and Coy Simon (Charleston, S.C.).

Named the 2018 USTA Florida Male Jr. Player of the Year, Zapp is also a former winner of the USTA Florida “Bobby Curtis” Junior State Singles Championship.

A singles semifinalist at last year’s winter nationals, Zapp as the boys’ 18s singles champion receives one wild card entry into the main draw of a future ITF World Tennis Tour M15 event in the U.S.

Shelton as the girls’ 18s singles champion receives a wild card entry into the singles qualifying draw of a USTA Pro Circuit W25 event, as well as a wild card into the singles main draw of the International Spring Championships, an ITF Grade 1 junior tournament in Carson, Calif.

Florida players also claimed doubles titles in the 16s and 14s divisions.

Natalie Block (Plantation, Fla.) was top-seeded in the girls’ 16s with Aubrey Nisbet (Wilmington, Del.), in the final outlasting the unseeded team of Katie Codd (Carlsbad, Calif.) and Tomi Main (Seaside, Calif.) 6-3, 3-6, 6-0 in Orlando. Sage Loudon (Delray Beach, Fla.) was the No. 2 seed in doubles with partner Susanna Maltby (Glen Ellyn, Ill.) in the 14s, in the final upsetting the top-seeded team of Ava Bruno (Bronxville, N.Y) and Caroline McGinley (Essex Fells, N.J.) 6-2, 6-3 in Tucson.

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 to just have fun competing.

For complete results go to www.usta.com/news.