Friday, January 3, 2020

December Aces; Shelton, Zapp Claim 18s Winter National Titles

My monthly column highlighting the standouts from the previous month is up today at the Tennis Recruiting Network, and it features all 14 of the champions at the three major December junior tournaments in Florida. If you took a break from tennis for the holidays, it's a great way to catch up on how the junior year concluded. I wasn't able to include all the former college players who collected titles last month, but I did manage to squeeze in two Americans Pro Circuit champions.

The Shelton family picked up a gold ball and a silver ball today in Lake Nona, with Emma winning the girls 18s title at the USTA Winter Nationals and Ben finishing second to Logan Zapp in a three-hour boys 18s championship match.

I was not able to get the Playsight live stream to work for more than a few minutes at a time, so I don't have much to say about South Carolina freshman Emma Shelton's 6-1, 2-6, 6-3 victory over top seed Sarah Hamner, but the stream was perfect for the boys final, with Zapp earning a 6-7(5), 7-6(3), 6-4 win over Shelton.
Zapp, an 18-year-old North Carolina recruit, led in all three sets, and had three set points in the opening set, two of them when serving for it at 5-4. But Shelton, a 17-year-old who will play for his father Bryan at Florida in 2021, played more aggressively on those points, hitting two winners, while Zapp also chipped in with a double fault. After an easy hold to go up 6-5, Shelton had a set point at 30-40 with Zapp serving, but Zapp saved it with a backhand stab volley and went on to hold. But Shelton took advantage of his second set point serving at 6-5 in the tiebreaker, with an overhead winner sealing the set for him.

Up 3-0 to start the second set, Zapp was broken at love serving at 3-1, but neither player got another break, although Zapp had to saved a break point serving at 5-6. In the second set tiebreaker, Shelton made several unforced errors and Zapp took advantage. In the third set, Zapp went up two breaks at 4-1, but Shelton got one break back immediately and got the second back in a six-deuce game to make it 4-4. But with a real chance to pressure Zapp, Shelton was broken at love in the next game, and Zapp converted his second match point when Shelton couldn't get a return back in play.

Zapp, who lost in the semifinals of the Winter Nationals last January and the final of July's USTA Clay Courts, is eligible to play both the Clay Courts and Kalamazoo again this year, as he does not turn 19 until November. Shelton, who was a semifinalist in the 16s at Kalamazoo last August, has two more years of eligibility for Kalamazoo 18s, with his birthday in October.

The two 16s finals were both completed in two sets, with No. 2 seed Katie Codd defeating Lucinda Gatsiounis, a 17 seed, 6-2, 6-3 for the girls title and No. 6 seed Ethan Quinn beating No. 5 seed Kurt Miller 6-2, 6-2.

The 12s and 14s wrapped up today in Tucson as well, with Elena Zhao and Susanna Maltby taking the girls singles titles and Gray Kelley and Daniel Kong claiming the boys singles titles. Maltby was the only player to win both singles and doubles in any age division.

Complete results from the finals are listed below:

Girls 12s final:
Elena Zhao[3] d. Emerey Gross[12], 6-4, 6-0

Girls 14s final:
Susanna Maltby[3] d. Ava Bruno[10] 6-3, 6-3

Girls 16s final:
Katie Codd[2] d. Lucinda Gatsiounis[17] 6-2, 6-3

Girls 18s final:
Emma Shelton[17] d. Sarah Hamner[1] 6-1, 1-6, 6-3

Boys 12s final:
Gray Kelley[4] d. Roman Sancilio[2] 6-3, 6-0

Boys 14s final:
Daniel Kong[17] d. Humza Noor[10] 4-6, 6-1, 7-6(4)

Boys 16s final:
Ethan Quinn[6] d. Kurt Miller[5] 6-2, 6-2

Boys 18s final:
Logan Zapp[1] d. Ben Shelton[8] 6-7(5), 7-6(3), 6-4

Boys 12s doubles final:
Jagger Leach and Roman Sancilio[1] d. Dominick Mosejczuk and Ronan O’Dwyer[6] 6-0, 6-1

Boys 14s doubles final:
Carson Baker and Lucas Coriaty[1] d. Kane Kelley and Ivan Savkin[8] 7-6, 1-6, 6-2

Boys 16s doubles final:
Louis Cloud and Sebastian Gorzny[2] d. Lucas Brown and Aidan Kim[1] 7-5, 4-6, 6-4

Boys 18s doubles final:
Keshav Chopra and Coy Simon[4] d. Aryan Chaudhary and Logan Zapp[3] 4-6, 6-1 ret. inj.

Girls 12s doubles final:
Amy Lee and Mia Yamakita[1] d. Kenzie Nguyen and Claire Zhang[7] 7-6(4), 6-4

Girls 14s doubles final:
Sage Loudon and Susanna Maltby[2] d. Ava Bruno and Caroline McGinley[1] 6-2, 6-3

Girls 16s doubles final:
Natalie Block and Aubrey Nisbet[1] d. Katie Codd and Tomi Main 6-3, 3-6, 6-0

Girls 18s doubles final:
Bridget Stammel and Katja Wiersholm d. Elizabeth Fahrmeier and Megan Heuser[3] 6-3, 6-2