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Saturday, March 5, 2016

New USTA Junior Competition Structure Revealed for 2017; Coppoc Wins Grade 1 in Paraguay' Mayo, Hewitt Claim Grade 3 TItles in Costa Rica; USTA National Spring Team Championships Begin Sunday; Meister, Townsend Secure BNP Paribas Qualifying Wild Cards

The USTA Junior Competition committee has released its restructuring for 2017, with many changes, including an increase in the draw sizes for the Clay Courts and Nationals, as well as an additional national gold ball tournament, the National Indoors, in November.  The Easter Bowl returns to being a gold ball event, and the National Spring Team Nationals, which I am covering now here in Mobile, are being split, with the 14s, 16s, and 18s in one event, and the 12s having a team tournament of their own the same week.  Those two tournaments will continue to be Level 1 Nationals, but they will no longer be gold ball events.

I haven't had an opportunity to thoroughly review the document that was distributed to the USTA sections Friday, but at first glance it seems to negate most of the changes that went into effect in 2014. The complete document, which includes a tentative schedule for 2017, can be found here.

No. 3 seed Morgan Coppoc won her first Grade 1 title today at the Asuncion Bowl in Paraguay.  The 16-year-old Georgia recruit defeated unseeded 14-year-old Caty McNally 6-4, 0-6, 7-5 in the all-American final.  JJ Wolf, the No. 7 seed, lost to No. 5 seed Tomas Etcheverry of Argentina 6-3, 6-1 in the boys final.  Wolf, with partner John McNally, were initially shown as the doubles winners, but that has since been changed on the ITF Junior website, with Felipe Meligeni Rodrigues Alves of Brazil and Matias Soto of Chile now credited with the doubles title.

At the Grade 3 in Costa Rica, Keenan Mayo and Dalayna Hewitt swept the titles.  Mayo defeated Govind Nanda 6-1, 4-6, 6-2 in a battle of unseeded 15-year-old Americans for his first ITF junior title.  Hewitt, also 15, won her
first ITF junior singles title as a qualifier, defeating Maria Osorio Serrano of Colombia 4-6, 6-3, 6-1in the final.

Mayo and Timothy Sah won the boys doubles title, defeating Alfredo Macias Torres of Ecuador and William Tutecky of Canada 6-4, 6-2 in the final, with both teams unseeded.

Hewitt won the girls doubles title with Kariann Pierre-Louis. The No. 3 seeds defeated unseeded Najah Dawson and Alana Smith 6-4, 6-1 in the all-American final.

Members of the Bears team high-five the Azalea Trail Maids for luck
With rain in the forecast next week, the USTA National Spring Team Championships will begin on Sunday, instead of Monday, as has been the case in the past two years.  Tonight at the banquet, attended by more than 550 parents, players and coaches, the draws were announced and all members of each team were introduced.  Competition begins at 10:30 a.m. with the eight girls matches. The eight boys matches will follow at around 3 p.m.  The TennisLink site has the list of players, both alphabetically and by team.

The BNP Paribas Challenge concluded today, with Taylor Townsend and Nick Meister winning qualifying wild cards into next week's tournament at Indian Wells.  No. 6 seed Townsend defeated USTA 18s National champion Sonya Kenin, the No. 7 seed, 6-2, 5-7, 6-4 in the women's final, and No. 1 seed Meister, the former UCLA Bruin, outlasted No. 4 seed Mikhail Ledovskikh of Russia 6-3, 2-6, 7-6 in the men's final.