Congratulations to the eight players shown in the slideshow below, who won singles gold balls at the USTA Winter Nationals in Tucson and Phoenix yesterday and today.
The results from the finals:
Boys 12s: Noah Makarome(1) def. Sam Riffice(3) 5-7, 6-2, 7-5
Girls 12s: Anna Bright(3) def. Riley McQuaid(4) 4-6, 6-2, 6-1
Boys 14s: Francis Tiafoe(1) def. Michael Genender(4) 7-6(4), 6-2
Girls 14s: Kenadi Hance(2) def. Raquel Pedraza(11) 7-5, 4-6, 6-1
Boys 16s: Paul Oosterbaan(2) def. Marshall Sharp(12) 6-4, 3-6, 6-3
Girls 16s: Jessica Ho(3) def. Allison Miller(12) 6-2, 7-6(3)
Boys 18s: Jared Hiltzik(2) def. Kristofer Yee(1) 6-2, 6-3
Girls 18s: Jamie Loeb(5) def. Mayo Hibi 6-4, 2-6, 6-4
I can't really comment on the tournament, because I wasn't there, but nearly every final looked competitive. The seeds acquitted themselves well, with no unseeded players in any of the eight finals, and all finalists were at least top 16 seeds.
Noah Makarome and Sam Riffice had just played in the quarterfinals of the Junior Orange Bowl 12s, and although the surface was clay, the final score was nearly identical to their championship match on the Arizona hard courts, with Makarome winning 3-6, 6-4, 7-5 in Florida.
Jared Hiltzik avenged a 7-6 in the third loss to Yee in the third round at Kalamazoo this year, and the Illinois recruit has barely lost a match since.
Jamie Loeb is the only player to repeat as Winter National champion. The 16-year-old from New York won the 16s title last year, and she also picked up the doubles title this year.
The gold ball winners in doubles are:
G18s: Madeline Lipp and Jamie Loeb
B18s: Brendan McClain and TJ Pura
G16s: Lindsay Hodge and Allison Miller
B16s: Nicholas Crystal and Chase Perez-Blanco
G14s: Brienne Minor and Zoe Spence
B14s: Chase Colton and Francis Tiafoe
G12s: Katie Chang and Claire Liu
B12s: Ryan Seggerman and Ivan Thamma
The (still slow) TennisLink sites for full draws: 12s & 14s and 16s & 18s