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2012 USTA National Women's Hardcourts

gabrielle desimone
2012 Women's USTA National Hardcourts Champion Gabriella De Simone

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2012 USTA National Women’s Hardcourt Tennis Championships

By J. Fred Sidhu

Thursday, June 7

     Top-seeded Gabriella DeSimone of Rancho Santa Fe, Calif. used her strong baseline game to quickly eliminate unseeded Regina Suarez of La Quinta, Calif., 6-0, 6-1, and advance to the quarterfinals of the USTA National Open Hard Court Championships at the Balboa Tennis Club.

     The 19-year-old DeSimone, who recently completed her freshman year at the University of Southern California, will face fifth-seeded Jessica Failla of Ramona, Calif. in a quarterfinal match scheduled for 9 a.m. on Friday. DeSimone, a member of the USC women’s tennis team, helped her team to a 24-4 record and a semifinal finish in the NCAA team championships this past season

     In her second round match against Suarez, DeSimone got off to a quick start as she broke serve in the opening game and would continue to dominate in building a 6-0, 4-0 lead. In the eleventh game, Suarez got on the scoreboard as she held serve when DeSimone’s forehand service return sailed long on game point. It didn’t take DeSimone long to get back on track as she easily won the next two games to close out the match, which took approximately 50 minutes to complete.

     “It feels good. I came off a good first year of college at USC and I’m playing with a lot of confidence. I just want to keep going and keep playing,” DeSimone said. ““I’m taking it match by match.”

      DeSimone is looking for her first USTA gold ball after winning a silver ball and a bronze ball in previous national events. “It would be special. That would be great. That’s what I’m shooting for,” she said.

     In other second-round women’s singles action, second-seeded Megan McCray of Oceanside, Calif. defeated unseeded Monica Robinson of Valley Center, Calif., 6-2, 6-0, to move into the quarterfinals.

Sunday, June 10

     Second-seeded Clarke Spinosa of Claremont, Calif. and Gabriella De Simone of Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., had a day to remember at the Balboa Tennis Club as both players captured singles titles at the USTA National Open Hard Court Championships.

     Spinosa, who plays intercollegiate tennis for the University of San Diego, defeated seventh-seeded Campbell Johnson of Rancho Santa Fe, 2-6, 6-1, 6-1, in the men’s singles final. The 19-year-old De Simone, a member of the women’s tennis team at the University of Southern California, defeated second-seeded Megan McCray of Oceanside, 6-1, 6-0, in the women’s singles final.

     After exchanging service breaks in the first set to open the women’s singles final, De Simone won 11 consecutive games on her way to winning the title. Afterwards she said the score did not indicate how tough the match was.

     “She (McCray) really made me work for every point. I stayed focused and competed really well.” De Simone said. “This win is really good for my confidence. I’m really happy about it.”

     In the men’s singles final, Spinosa dropped the opening set against the 20-year-old-Johnson, who has played the last two years at the University of Georgia. However, Spinosa cut down on his unforced errors and picked up the level of his game and won the next two sets to claim the title. It was the fourth straight three-set victory of the tournament for Spinosa.

     “I just wanted to come out and be aggressive, but Campbell was playing well in the first set. He had me on the run and he was really attacking,” said Spinosa, who credited his fitness for helping him win after losing the first set. “I just wanted to stay out there as long as possible and see if I could break him down,” he said. “We had a lot of long points and Campbell got a little tired.”

     Following their title matches, both champions were awarded a USTA gold ball for winning the national tennis event. It is the first time Spinosa and De Simone have won gold balls. The runner-up in each division received a USTA silver ball. There was also a 3rd/4th place playoff for the USTA bronze ball. For complete scores and results, go to:

     Former tournament champions include current American stars Jack Sock and CoCo Vandeweghe and former touring tennis professionals Gretchen Magers, Rosalyn Nideffer and Allison Bradshaw. The USTA National Open Hard Court Championships was voted 2011 Tournament of the Year by the San Diego District Tennis Association.

     The Balboa Tennis Club is the site for many prestigious tournaments throughout the year, such as the Maureen Connolly Balboa Open, the San Diego District Championships, and the San Diego Metropolitan Tournament, in addition to the Hardcourt Nationals. The club, which is also the home of the San Diego Tennis Hall of Fame, boasts over 1,400 members, and is visited by approximately 6,000 day pass visitors each year. As a nonprofit organization, Balboa Tennis Club is dedicated to offering the finest facilities at an affordable price to help foster and develop the great game of tennis in San Diego.

     The history of the Balboa Tennis Club dates back to 1922 when a small group of tennis enthusiasts raised $5,000 among themselves, and with the cooperation from the City Recreation Department, constructed six tennis courts adjacent to the present War Memorial Building. On April 24, 1924, the San Diego Tennis Association received a lease to operate the courts for the public. The following year, a small clubhouse with locker rooms was built, but it was not until June 1939 that Articles of Incorporation were drawn up, and the Balboa Tennis Club actually was formed as a public, nonprofit corporation to foster and develop the game of tennis in San Diego....and to encourage competitive play with other clubs of this and other communities.

     The club flourished many years at its original location and aided many young players in developing their games. In June 1966, the club moved to its present location and in July, 1983, assumed all the operational responsibilities of the Morley Field Tennis Complex. In 1989 Balboa Tennis Club was rated as America's Best Public Tennis Facility by the USTA. In 2000, the San Diego District Tennis Association named BTC as Club of the Year. In 2003, it received the Outstanding Tennis Facility award from the USTA for large facilities in the United States.

 Photo Gallery

megan mccrayMegan McCray

megan mccrayMegan McCray

Gabriella De SimoneGabriella De Simone

Gabriella De SimoneTina Karwasky

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