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Saturday, March 9, 2013

Spring National 18s Begin Sunday; Kiick Reaches Gainesville Pro Circuit Final

©Colette Lewis 2013--
Mobile, AL--

The first round of the USTA 18s Spring National Championships begins Sunday morning, with the boys taking the 8:30 a.m. early shift at the Mobile Tennis Center and the girls following at 11 a.m.

On Saturday, the courts were full of juniors practicing, with many of those from the Northern states seeing their first outdoor tennis of the year. Cloud cover kept them from their first sunburn of the year, but temperatures were comfortable, in the mid to upper 60s, with a slight breeze. An Alabama Ten-and-Under-Tennis camp also kept the courts full, with 53 participants using the blended lines for drills and games.

The tournament registration, which features both portrait photos and videos, went smoothly, and the draws were distributed after the 6 p.m. players' meeting.

Boys top seed David Hsu will play wild card Ryan Smith in a tough first round encounter, while girls top seed and defending champion Brooke Austin looks to extend her Mobile winning streak to eight against Brittany Brewster.

The weather forecast calls for a 20 percent chance of rain on Sunday, with breezy conditions and highs around 70 degrees. Monday's forecast is currently showing an 80 percent chance of rain, so there could be some long days later in the week, although with 60 courts, the backlog dissipates quickly when the rain stops.

Draws are at the TennisLink site and results will be posted there throughout the day.

At the $10,000 women's Pro Circuit event in Gainesville, Florida, Allie Kiick has reached the final, beating Viktoriya Tomova of Bulgaria 6-2, 6-0 in today's semifinals. Kiick, the No. 4 seed, hasn't lost more than four games in any of her four victories this week. She will face her first seed in Sunday's final--Katerina Kramperova of the Czech Republic, the No. 3 seed. Kiick is looking for her second title on the Pro Circuit, having won the $10,000 tournament in Amelia Island in 2011.

The doubles title went to former Virginia standout Lindsey Hardenbergh and former Georgia Tech and UCLA star Noelle Hickey. The unseeded Hardenbergh and Hickey beat unseeded Nicole Robinson and Jan Abaza 6-3, 6-4.