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Saturday, April 14, 2007

Sandgren and De Bruycker Win 16s Titles in Carson

©Colette Lewis 2007--
Carson CA--

Tennys Sandgren followed up his win two weeks ago at the ITF Grade 4 in College Station Texas with another impressive performance, defeating No. 10 seed Junior Ore 6-3, 6-3 to take the 16s title at the International Spring Championships. All six of the Gallatin, Tennessee native's victories here were in straight sets, and the 15-year-old has an explanation for his recent surge.

"I'm playing the big points a lot better," said Sandgren, whose older brother Davey plays at the University of Tennessee. "Playing the 30-all and deuce points pretty well. It helps when you don't lose those."

Against Ore, a left-hander from Gaithersburg, Maryland, Sandgren had a strategy going into the contest.

"I tried to hit a lot of high balls crosscourt to his backhand, with my forehand," said the No. 2 seed, hoping to pick on Ore's one-handed backhand. "But he guarded that pretty well. He played tough, it was a tough match. I served really well today--I had a fair amount of aces. I hadn't served well at all this whole tournament, but I picked it up this time. And I returned well too. It took me a set, but I got it."

Zoe De Bruycker, the No. 7 seed in the girls 16s, had dropped only one set in the tournament, and the 15-year-old from Saratoga California continued her fine play in Saturday's final, outsteadying unseeded Gabrielle De Simone of Rancho Santa Fe, California, 6-4, 6-2.

"The first set was tough," said De Bruycker, 15. "We were both playing pretty well. She was playing pretty consistently, so I was trying to do some deep corners, maybe get her off the court with some angles, but it was tough."

The second set was less of a challenge. "After I won that first set I was feeling pretty comfortable," De Bruycker admitted. But the 5-0 lead was suddenly 5-2, when De Simone held and De Bruycker couldn't find the service box in the next game, her first attempt to finish it. Unforced errors by De Simone helped De Bruycker avoid the pressure of serving it out in the match's final game.

The girls doubles championship in the 16s division went to Nicolle Stracar of New York and Monica Yajima of Connecticut. The unseeded pair downed Los Angeles residents Sarah Lee and Sabrina Santamaria, also unseeded, 2-6, 7-5, 7-5.

Ore and partner Raymond Sarmiento, of Fontana, California, the fourth seeds, captured the boys 16 doubles with a 6-4, 3-6, 6-2 victory over the unseeded team of Brian Fang and Michael Lin, both of Southern California.