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Sunday, December 28, 2008

Winter Nationals Underway; Last Chance to Vote for ZooTennis as Tennis Blog of the Year

The USTA Winter Nationals are one major junior tournament I have never attended due to the location and timing. Coming off a month covering three tournaments in Florida, I need the holiday break to reacquaint myself with my home and work on assignments from the Eddie Herr and Orange Bowls. Even if I had heard glowing reviews of the weather in Arizona this time of year, which I haven't, I still would be unlikely to make the trip.

But for many juniors, it is one of the major tournaments that can be played without missing school, and the field is often full of the best California players in particular. The 16s and 18s divisions are held in Scottsdale, and in the boys 16s, Jack Sock, the No. 1 seed, and Shane Vinsant, the No. 2 seed, have both advanced to the fourth round of the 128-draw. In the girls 16s, National hard court champion Lauren Davis is the No. 1 seed and Nicole Melichar the No. 2 seed.

In the boys 18s, top seed Walker Kehrer was upset by fellow Californian Daniel Kosakowski in the third round, and there have been many upsets, with only No. 2 seed JT Sundling and No. 7 seed Connor Smith representing the top eight seeds in the round of 16.

In the girls 18s, No. 1 seed Hanna Mar and No. 2 seed Lilly Kimbell have advanced to the round of 16, but No. 3 seed Catherine Isip was upset in the first round.

For the 16s and 18s draws and results, see the TennisLink site.

The 12s and 14s are held in Tucson, and from their TennisLink site, it sounds as if the weather has been very wintry. In the boys 12s, top seeds Toshiki Matsuya and Christian Garay, both of whom played the Junior Orange Bowl, are through to the third round. No. 1 Terrell Celestine and No. 2 Jonathan Huang have made the third round in the boys 14s.

In the girls 12s, the top seeda are Katrine Steffensen and Christina Makarova; in the girls 14s, the top seeds are Jacqueline Crawford, and Brooke Austin.

A final reminder: Voting ends on Monday, December 29th in the On The Baseline Annual Awards. If you haven't already done so, please take a moment to vote for ZooTennis for Tennis Blog of the Year by clicking on the graphic in the upper left corner, or go to On The Baseline and select the VOTE TODAY icon. Thank you!