A day of rain on Wednesday made for a long New Year's Day at the USTA Winter Nationals in Scottsdale and Tucson, with both the quarterfinal and semifinal matches being played. Not a single top seed advanced to any of the eight finals, while two unseeded players will be playing for a gold ball on Friday.
The boys 18s final features one of them, with Alafia Ayeni advancing by defeating No. 11 seed Zeke Clark 7-6(4), 5-7, 7-5 in the semifinals. According to the Universal Tennis Rating definition, this was indeed an upset, with Clark the No. 1 ranked player in the field and Ayeni, No. 28, more than 1.2 UTR points below him. Ayeni will play No. 8 seed William Genesen, who ousted top seed Jacob Hansen in the quarterfinals 6-2, 6-1.
In the girls 18s final, No. 10 seed Mia Horvit will play No. 2 seed Kelly Chen. Horvit, who had beaten top seed Jessie Aney earlier, defeated No. 5 seed Sara Daavettila (the UTR No. 1) in the quarterfinals and No. 12 seed Emma Higuchi in the semifinals. Chen, who has yet to lose more than three games in a set, defeated Elizabeth Profit and No. 11 seed Gabby Pollner to reach the final.
The boys 16s final will feature Jake Van Emburgh(3), who beat top seed Jacob Brumm in semis 7-6(5), 6-1, against No. 2 seed JJ Wolf, who needed a third set tiebreaker to hold off No. 5 seed Jason Lui in the quarterfinals, then defeated No. 4 seed Timothy Sah 7-6(5), 603 in the semifinals.
The girls 16s final is between No. 2 seed Morgan Coppoc and No. 4 seed Chiara Lommer. Lommer defeated No. 17 seed Victoria Emma and No. 15 seed Elysia Bolton in straight sets to reach the final, while Coppoc had to win only one match, downing No. 8 seed Carson Branstine in the quarterfinals before advancing to the final via a walkover due to No. 6 seed Samantha Martinelli's illness.
Complete draws are at the TennisLink site.
In Tucson, where the 12s and 14s play, here are the matchups for Friday's finals:
Girls 12s: Mae Canete(3) vs Gianna Pielet(4)
Boys 12s: Niroop Vallabhaneni(4) vs Jameson Corsillo (15)
Girls 14s: Cali Jankowski (16) vs winner of Sara Choy (4) and Salma Ewing(17)
Boys 14s: Unseeded Jaycer Calleros, who beat top seed Brandon Nakashima 6-1, 6-2 in the quarterfinals, vs Govind Nanda (3)
The TennisLink site is here.