USTA National Women’s Hardcourt Tennis Championships
J. Fred Sidhu
Saturday, August 3, 2013
a 14-year-old San Diegan with a notable tennis pedigree, has looked
forward to competing in the USTA Girls 16s National Championships for
Until now, she’s been too young to enter. But because Barnes Tennis
Center is her home-court practice facility, she feels especially at
home this week, competing at the tournament’s long-time site.
“Seems like I’ve been waiting a long time,” she
her first-round debut Saturday, a 6-1, 6-0 win over unseeded Caroline Williams
of Baltimore. “I’ve definitely looked forward to playing against the
best girls here on my home courts.”
Ferrari’s style features aggressive ground strokes
with a fierce and surprisingly frequent net game, a rarity among her
“I love coming to net,” said Ferrari, whose grandfather is legendary
local teaching pro Ben
“It’s so much fun. All these girls can hit 100,000 balls without ever
coming to net, but I always like to end the point as soon as I can.”
Ferrari currently holds a ranking of 6th in the
Southern California Girls 16s. A resident of San Diego community of
University City, she plans to attend La Jolla Country Day School this
fall. Her father is Jim
Ferrari, a long-time teaching pro.
Next up for Ferrari is a second-round match
against 17th-seeded Sydney
Riley, from Dallas, who received a first-round bye.
Sunday, August 4
top seeded in the USTA Girls’ 16s National Championships, looks to the
sidelines, she sees more than a few familiar faces.
Watching intently are her Japanese-born parents, alongside her maternal
grandparents and brother, Shuhei, 20, a top player himself at UC
Irvine, some 90 miles north of San Diego.
Shibahara resides in Rancho Palos Verdes, just
“It’s so great having everyone here to watch me,” said Shibahara, after
advancing to the Round of 64 with a hard-fought 6-4, 7-6 (5)
second-round win over unseeded Ellie
Douglas of McKinney, Texas.
“My parents see me play a lot, but my grandparents
over from Japan to spend the summer. That’s extra special because
they’re both in their 80s,” added Shibahara, who received a first-round
Shibahara, a 15-year-old high school sophomore, speaks mostly Japanese
with her parents and grandparents, though she converses with friends in
On-court, Shibahara pounds her groundstrokes with a ferocity that
belies her slight stature. She’s also very willing to heap praise on
“I think there are a lot of better players than me
she said, “but I’m ready to stay on top because I’m a fighter out
Next up for Shibahara is a third-round match Monday against eighth seed
Vasile of Oakland, Mich.
of Miramar, Fla., the top-seed in the Girls’ 18s, will be in action
along with the other Girls’ 18s seeds on Monday, Aug. 5. Matches are
scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m.
Monday, August 5
After receiving a first-round bye, defending
champion Victoria Duval
of Bradenton, Fla. began her title defense at the USTA Girls’ 18s
National Championships in impressive fashion on Stadium Court at the
Barnes Tennis Center as she blanked Aryn
Greene of Alpharetta, Ga., 6-0, 6-0.
The third-seeded Duval, who is currently ranked
292 in the
Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) singles rankings, advances to a
third-round meeting on Tuesday afternoon against unseeded Rebekah Anderson of
La Mirada, Calif.
“It feels good. I love playing here. I played some
best tennis here last year, so hopefully I’ll do it again,” Duval said
following her 2nd round victory. “I don’t feel any pressure at all.
It’s not going to be easy, but I’m looking forward to it.
The wild card into the US Open is a big deal. It’s
something we all want to achieve. Hopefully I’ll get to do it a second
In other Girls’ 18 second-round action, top-seeded
Vickery of Miramar Fla. defeated Lindsey Hodge of
Roswell, Ga., 6-4, 6-2 and second-seeded Alexandra Kiick of
Plantation, Fla. eliminated Chuyang
Guan of San Antonio, 6-0, 6-3. Fourth-seeded Taylor Townsend also
advanced to the third round after getting past unseeded Caroline Lampl of
Bluemont, Va., 4-6, 7-5, 6-0.
The tournament named 17-year-old Kennan Johnson
of Baton Rouge, La., as the Babolat Player of the Day. Johnson took the
initiative on her own to pitch in and help the tournament staff to
clean up following a player dinner last Saturday night after the
Johnson then asked if she could take the leftover food from the dinner
to give to local homeless people in need. Accompanied by her mother and
grandmother, Johnson distributed the food in the nearby Ocean Beach
The award, which is presented to a player each day
event, is based equally on competitive achievement and sportsmanship.
Tuesday, August 6
After losing in the singles final of last year’s
USTA Girls’ 18s National Championship, 18-year-old Alexandra Kiick
of Plantation, Fla., is setting her sights on the prestigious title at
this year’s tournament.
Kiick, ranked 297 in the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) rankings, has
spent much of the year competing on the USTA Pro-Circuit. As the second
seed this week at the Barnes Tennis Center, Kiick hopes to win the
championship, which would earn her a wild card into the upcoming US
Following her 6-1, 6-2, third-round victory over Kourtney Keegan of
Roswell, Ga. on Stadium Court, Kiick said winning the wild card into
the US Open would mean “Everything” to her.
“That’s what we all train for. It would mean a
said. “I hope to do well. Obviously I got to the finals last year, but
I’m just going out and trying my hardest every match and use my
experience to my advantage.”
Winning this year’s USTA Girls’ 18s National
won’t be easy as the top nine seed came into the tournament ranked in
the WTA Top 500. According to Kiick, every player in the draw is tough.
“It’s a great tournament. It’s really tough. There are a lot of
unseeded players who kind of sneak up on you. You have to take every
match like it’s going to be very tough, because it is,” she said.
Kiick, who has played in WTA events in Miami and
Carlsbad this year, will face 17th-seeded Zoe Katz of Los
Angeles in a fourth-round match scheduled for Wednesday afternoon.
In other Girls’ 18s action, top-seeded Sachia Vickery,
Duval and fourth-seeded Taylor Townsend all
advanced to the fourth round with straight-set victories.
Chirico of Harrison, N.Y. fell to unseeded Cassandra Vazquez of
Houston, 6-3, 6-1 in a third-round match.
Shibahara of Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., the top seed in
the Girls’ 16s, reached the Round of 16 as she defeated 17th seeded Hanna Chang of
Fontana, Calif., 6-3, 6-4 in a fourth-round match.
Tournament officials named Caroline Lampl of
Bluemont, Va., as the Babolat Player of the Day. After winning her
first-round Girls’ 18s match, the unseeded Lampl faced fourth-seeded Taylor Townsend
in a second round encounter on Monday. She nearly scored an upset after
capturing the first set and served for the match at 5-4 in the second
set before Townsend rallied to win in three sets.
Wednesday, August 7
Eighteen-year-old Sachia Vickery
of Miramar, Fla. has played professional tennis tournaments in Mexico,
France, Canada and around the United States this year as she recently
established a career high singles ranking of 230 in the world.
This week, she is the top-seed at the USTA Girls’ 18s National
Championship at the Barnes Tennis Center where she reached the Round of
Sixteen after getting past local entrant Megan McCray of
Oceanside, Calif., 6-4, 6-2, in a fourth round match on Stadium Court.
“My opponent went out there with nothing to lose.
hitting really big shots. I was just trying to make her play and find
my rhythm,” Vickery said after the match. “I’ve been playing pro
tournaments all year, so obviously there is some pressure (as the top
seed) from everyone here.”
When asked about the wild card to the US Open that
awarded to the Girls’ 18s champion on Sunday, Vickery responded, “It’s
what I dreamed of all of my life, playing at the US Open. It would mean
so much to me. I just want to do the best I can this week and hopefully
that will be enough to win the tournament.”
In other Girls’ 18s tournament action, third-seed
and defending champion Victoria
Duval of Bradenton, Fla., eased past 17th seeded Kristin Wiley of
Fort Lauderdale, Fla., 6-0, 6-0, to advance to the Round of 16. Also
advancing was fourth-seeded Taylor
Townsend of Boca Raton, Fla., a 6-4, 6-2 winner over 17th
seeded Madison Westby
of Tulsa, Okla.
San Diegan Christina
Makarova thrilled local tennis fans as the tenth-seed in
the Girls’ 18s got past hard-hitting Gabrielle Andrews of
Pomona, Calif., 6-4, 6-1 to advance to the Round of Sixteen.
Makarova, a resident of the San Diego community of
Scripps Ranch, will face second-seeded Alexandra Kiick on
Thursday at 11 a.m. (PDT). Kiick is the daughter of former Miami
Dolphins running back Jim
Tournament officials named Cassandra Vazquez of
Houston as the Babolat Player of the Day. On Tuesday, Vazquez ousted
of Harrison, N.Y., with a 6-3, 6-1 upset in a Girls’ 18s third-round
match. The award, which is presented to a player each day of the event,
is based equally on competitive achievement and sportsmanship.
On Thursday night, the USTA Girls’ 16s &
Championships will continue its tradition of hosting a Final Eight
dinner at the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club, which will be
by each of the singles and doubles quarterfinalists.
Thursday, August 8
Townsend of Boca Raton, Fla., fended off an upset bid on
Thursday afternoon as she defeated 12th seeded Kaitlyn H. McCarthy
of Cary, N.C., 7-5, 6-2 to reach the quarterfinals of the USTA Girls’
18s National Championships.
Playing on a cool and breezy day at the Barnes
Center, Townsend and McCarthy exchanged multiple service breaks and
were even at 5-5 in the first set. At that point, Townsend found the
range on her shots and proceeded to win eight of the next 10 games to
pull away and win the match.
“She’s a tough opponent. She gets a lot of balls
she tries to step into the court and hit the ball flat. She has a
really good down the line off the backhand and forehand,” Townsend said
following her victory. “She kept me on the defensive a lot. I just
stayed solid and I’m glad I came out with a win.”
Last Saturday, Townsend reached the doubles final
Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) event in Washington, D.C. and then
flew to San Diego later that day to begin preparing for this week’s
“It’s always difficult, the time change and the travel. It made me very
fatigued. Especially on Sunday and Monday, I was feeling it a lot. I’m
starting to feel better, but it’s always tough,” Townsend said. “This
is a very strong tournament. All the top people want to play this
tournament because there is something great on the line.”
In other Girls’ 18s fifth-round action, top-seeded
Vickery of Miramar, Fla., defeated 15th seeded Spencer Liang of
Potomac, Md., 6-0, 6-2 and second-seeded Allie Kiick of
Plantation, Fla., eliminated tenth seeded Christina Makarova
of San Diego, 6-3, 6-3.
Defending Girls’ 18s champion and No. 3 seed Victoria Duval rolled
into the quarterfinals with an impressive 6-0, 6-0 victory over 16th
seeded Ellyse Hamlin
of Fairfield, Conn.
Girls’ 16s top-seed Ena
of Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif. advanced to the singles semifinals after
scoring an exciting 6-4, 5-7, 7-5 quarterfinal victory over
Minor of Mundelein, Ill.
Playing on Stadium Court, Shibahara served for the
at 5-4 in the third set, but dropped serve as Minor tied the set at 5-5
Shibahara dug deep and recovered to break Minor’s serve to take a 6-5
lead. She went on to serve out match in the next game. Shibahara,who
indicated that this will be her last Girls’ 16s tournament, will face
17th seeded Raveena
Kingsley of Fulton, Md. in the next round. The winner
will advance to the Girls’ 16s singles championship on
Tournament officials named Jessica Failla
of Ramona, Calif. as the Babolat Player of the Day. After losing in the
fourth round of the Girls’ 16s main draw, Failla defeated two seeded
players to reach the semifinals of the Feed-In Competition
(Consolation). Tournament staff who saw her matches at the University
of San Diego, recommended Failla for the award for her outstanding
Friday, August 9, 2013
A year ago, Victoria
Duval of Bradenton, Fla. captured the USTA Girls’ National
Championship. During her title run, she defeated Brooke Austin of
Indianapolis, Ind. in a tough three-set semifinal match.
On Friday afternoon, in a re-match between 17-year-olds, Duval, seeded
No. 3, met the sixth-seeded Austin in the Girls’ 18s quarterfinals at
the Barnes Tennis Center.
This time it was Austin’s turn to advance as she
the defending champion with a hard-fought 6-3, 4-6, 6-0 victory, which
took two hours and 10 minutes.
“It’s a great feeling. Last year I lost to her and I was up 4-1 in the
third set,” Austin said. “She’s a really good player. I know her really
well. We’re good friends. It was a tough match to play. It was a good
When asked if she was thinking of the US Open wild
that is award to the Girls’ 18s champion, Austin said, “Obviously it’s
a big deal in this tournament, so I’m trying not to think about it, but
(yes), it would be pretty cool to get it.”
In other Girls’ 18s Quarterfinal action,
top-seeded Sachia Vickery
of Miramar, Fla., second-seeded Allie
Kiick of Plantation, Fla., and fourth-seeded Taylor Townsend
of Boca Raton, Fla. all advanced to the Saturday’s semifinals with
In Saturday’s Girls’ 18s semifinals, Townsend will face Kiick at 9:30
a.m. (PDT) and Vickery will play Austin in the second semifinal, which
will not begin before 11 a.m. (PDT).
Girls’ 16s top-seed Ena Shibahara
of Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif. advanced to Saturday’s singles
championship as she recovered from the lost of the first set to defeat
17th seeded Raveena
Kingsley of Fulton, Md., 1-6, 7-6 (3), 6-0.
Later in the afternoon, Shibahara teamed with Savannah Slaysman of
Phoenix to win the Girls’ 16 doubles championship as the top-seeds
edged the sixth-seeded doubles team of Francesca Dilorenzo
of New Albany, Ohio and Lauren
Goodman of Fort Wayne, Ind., 7-5, 6-3.
In tomorrow’s Girls’ 16s singles final, which will
begin before 1 p.m. (PDT), Shibahara will face second-seeded Katerina Stewart of
Miami, who defeated 7th seeded Meredith
Xepoleas of Huntington Beach, Calif., 7-5, 6-3 in a
Tournament officials named Brienne
of Mundelein, Ill., the No. 5 seed in the Girls’ 16s, as the Babolat
Player of the Day. Minor reached the singles quarterfinals on Thursday
and nearly upset Shibahara, giving the No. 1 seed all she could handle,
before falling 6-4, 5-7, 7-5.
Saturday, August 10
On a cool Saturday morning under mostly sunny
skies, second-seeded Alexandra
Kiick of Plantation, Fla., defeated fourth-seeded Taylor Townsend of
Boca Raton, Fla., 1-6, 6-4, 6-1. In the day’s second semifinal,
top-seeded Sachia Vickery
of Miramar, Fla., continued her strong tournament run as she
over-powered sixth-seeded Brooke
Austin of Indianapolis, Ind., 6-1, 6-3.
Sunday’s final, which will begin not before 11:30
(PDT) on Stadium Court, will feature two players who are ranked in the
Top 300 in the Women’s Tennis Association rankings. Vickery is ranked
230 in the world, while Kiick sits at 297 in the world.
“It’s going to be tough. Obviously we’re really good friends,” Kiick
said. “We just basically said, ‘May the best person win tomorrow.’ It’s
going to be a great experience for both of us, whoever wins or loses.”
Following their semifinal singles victories,
Kiick teamed to play in the Girls’ 18s doubles final on Saturday
afternoon. The second seeds knocked off the top-seeded team of Townsend
and Gabrielle Andrews
of Pomona, Calif., 6-3, 6-4, to win the title and a wild card into the
women’s doubles draw at the upcoming US Open.
One year made all the difference for 16-year-old Katerina Stewart of
Miami. Last year she lost in the Girls’ 16s final, but on Saturday, the
second-seeded Stewart captured the USTA Girls’ 16 singles championship
with a 6-4, 6-1 victory over top-seeded Ena Shibahara of
Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif.
In addition to being awarded a USTA Gold Ball for
the USTA Girls’ 16s singles title, Stewart also earned a wild card into
the US Open Junior Girls’ singles competition.
Tournament officials named Megan McCray
of Oceanside, Calif. as the Babolat Player of the Day. The 18-year-old
local player, who was seeded 33rd, reached the fourth round of the main
draw before dropping a hard-fought 6-4, 6-2 decision to top-seeded Sachia Vickery.
McCray then entered the consolation draw where she reached Sunday’s
Sunday, August 11
Vickery of Miramar, Fla. capped a strong performance at
the Barnes Tennis as she defeated second-seeded Alexandra Kiick of
Plantation, Fla., 4-6, 6-2, 6-0, in one-hour and 46 minutes to capture
the USTA Girls’ 18s National Championship.
The 18-year-old Vickery, ranked 230 in the Women’s
Association (WTA) singles rankings, earned a wild card into the women’s
singles main draw of the upcoming US Open, which takes place August 26
through September 9 at the USTA
Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y.
"It feels unbelievable. It hasn't sunken in that
to be playing at the U.S. Open," Vickery said. "It's been my dream
since I started playing tennis. I can't even put it into words how
happy I am."
After winning the USTA Girls’ 18s National doubles title
on Saturday, Kiick and Vickery faced each other in the singles
championship under bright, sunny skies and breezy conditions.
The first set was deadlocked at 4-4 with Vickery serving. At 30-30,
Vickery was called for a foot-fault on her first serve and proceeded to
hit a double fault to give Kiick a break point.
The 17-year-old Kiick secured the service break
and a 5-4
lead as Vickery’s down the line backhand sailed wide.
Serving for the first set, Kiick gained a set point at 40-30, but
Vickery answered with a booming down the line backhand winner to send
the game to deuce. Kiick went on to win the set 6-4 when Vickery’s
backhand landed in the net on the third set point.
After losing her first set of the tournament,
back strong in the second set as she lost only six points in her first
three service games and broke Kiick twice to build a 5-1 lead. The top
seed went on to close out the set in 30 minutes to tie the match at one
Following a ten-minute break, both players returned to the court and
Vickery continued where she left off.
With the momentum on her side, Vickery dominated
set, scoring service breaks in the second and fourth games to establish
a 5-0 lead.
The match ended with Vickery breaking Kiick’s serve at love in the
sixth and final game of the third set to secure the prestigious USTA
Girls’ 18s National Championship and a wild card into the US Open.
“The first set was a lot of nerves. My shot
wasn’t good and I was going for too much. I was letting her dictate on
the bigger points,” Vickery said after her victory. “The difference
between that and the last two sets was being more aggressive and going
for my shots.”
Nearly 400 girls aged 16 and 18 and under competed
for the title of National Champion,
as well as a Wild Card entry into the singles main draw of the US Open
Women’s Championships (for the 18s Champion) and a Wild Card into the
US Open Junior Championships (for the 16s Champion). The 18s Doubles
Champions also received a Wild Card into the main draw of the US Open
To view the complete tournament draws go to: http://tennislink.usta.com/Tournaments/TournamentHome/Tournament.aspx?T=121938
About USTA Girls’ 16s – 18s Nationals:
The USTA Girls’ 16s Nationals has been directed by Youth Tennis San
Diego (YTSD) since 1990. This year will be the 24th anniversary of this
event in San Diego, and 2013 marks the fourth year of the combined G16s
– G18s event at the Barnes Tennis Center.
As the largest and most prestigious junior girls’
event in the United States, the USTA National Championships field
consists of two draws, 192 players in each, selected from the top
players who enter the event. The participants represent every USTA
Member Section and nearly every state in the United States.
About Youth Tennis San Diego:
The USTA Girls’ Nationals is the most prestigious of over 40 tournament
events held at the Barnes Tennis Center each year. The Center is owned
and operated by Youth Tennis San Diego, a non-profit 501 (c)(3)
organization that has been in existence since 1952. The YTSD Mission
is: "To promote the educational, physical, and social development of
all youth through organized tennis and educational activities. Our
community programs encourage youth participation, personal integrity,
leadership, and competitive spirit in a friendly environment that
builds responsible citizens.” For information on sponsoring the USTA
Girls’ Nationals or to be a tournament volunteer, please contact the
Barnes Tennis Center at 619-221-9000.