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Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Top 16s Seed Cloud, Top 12s Seed Leach Fall at Winter Nationals; 16-year-old Xu, Princeton Sophomore Poling Claim Gold Balls at USTA National Women's and Men's Opens In New York

Top boys 16s seed Louis Cloud lost today in the third round of the USTA Winter Nationals at Lake Nona, bowing out courtesy of No. 17 seed Michael Ross 6-2, 6-1. The 16s are still a round behind (they are expected to play two matches, the quarterfinals and semifinals, on Thursday) but the quarterfinals are set in the 18s, with top seeds Sarah Hamner and Logan Zapp both surviving in three sets today.

The quarterfinals are also set for Wednesday for the 12s and 14s divisions in Tucson, and top seed Jagger Leach, the son of Lindsay Davenport and Jon Leach, will not be participating, having lost to No. 17 seed Tristan Dussault 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 in today's round of 16.

The USTA National Men's and Women's Open is held every year at this time at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York, and draws many top players on the east coast. The men's draw is usually 256--everyone who enters is accepted--while the women's draw is generally 64.

Last year two collegians, UNC's Alexa Graham and Penn's Kyle Mautner, won the titles. This year, Princeton sophomore Karl Poling, who won the mixed doubles title last year, won the men's gold ball. The top seed, Poling defeated No. 25 seed Justin Natale(Brown) 6-3, 6-1 in the championship match this morning. The women's title went to New Jersey's Valencia Xu, who reached the finals of the USTA 16s Nationals in San Diego this summer. The 16-year-old Xu, the No. 2 seed, defeated No. 3 seed Margarita Sadovnikova, an assistant coach for the women's team at Lasalle, 7-5, 6-0 in the final.

Xu also won the mixed doubles gold ball, with University of Chicago recruit Derek Hsieh. The No. 4 seeds defeated top seeds Eliot Spizzirri and Elise Wagle, another all-junior team, 6-7(8), 7-6(5), 6-2 in the final.

Unseeded Brian Battistone and Tennyson Whiting won the men's doubles title, beating Hsieh and SMU recruit Liam Krall, the No. 8 seeds, 7-6(2), 6-4 in the championship match.

Vanderbilt freshman Marcella Cruz repeated as women's doubles champion, but this year she partnered with the player she had beaten in the final last year, Wake Forest sophomore Anna Brylin. The top seeds defeated Dartmouth freshmen Ashley Hess and Chidimma Okpara, the No. 2 seeds, 6-2, 6-3 in the final.

For complete draws, see the TennisLink site.