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Thursday, October 19, 2017

ITF Pan American Closed Recap, Videos, Photos

Today marks the conclusion of this year's coverage of the ITF Grade B1 Pan American Closed in Tulsa, with my written recap of Andrew Fenty and Whitney Osuigwe's titles available at the Tennis Recruiting Network.  With their titles, Osuigwe moved to No. 1 in the ITF Junior rankings and Fenty rose to 33, which is his career high.

The videos of the finals, which were played at the same time, are below, as are photos of the singles quarterfinalists and doubles semifinalists.



Michael Case Tennis Center, University of Tulsa
Abigail Forbes, USA, quarterfinalist
Niluka Madurawe, USA, quarterfinalist
Katie Volynets, USA, quarterfinalist
Alexandra Yepifanova, USA, quarterfinalist
Aidan Mayo, USA, quarterfinalist
Govind Nanda, USA, quarterfinalist
Axel Nefve, USA, quarterfinalist
Noah Schachter, USA, quarterfinalist
Margaryta Bilokin, Ukraine, semifinalist
Marlee Zein, USA, semifinalist
Nick Hardt, DOM, semifinalist
Jaycer Lyeons, USA, semifinalist
Nick Hardt, DOM and Brandon Perez, VEN, semfinalists
Brian Shi and Drew Baird, USA, semifinalists
Natasha Subhash and Lea Ma, USA, semifinalists
Alexandra Vagramov and Ariana Arseneault, CAN, semifinalists
Natasha Subhash, USA, finalist
Emilio Nava, USA, finalist
Sabina Dadaciu and Hailey Baptiste, USA, finalists
Andrew Fenty and William Woodall, USA, finalists
Peyton Stearns and Nicole Mossmer, USA, champions
Trey Hilderbrand and Govind Nanda, USA, champions
Whitney Osuigwe, USA, champion
Andrew Fenty, USA, champion

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

ITF Features Next Week's Junior Masters Competitors; Osuigwe, Boyer Advance at Grade A Osaka Cup; Wu Yibing's Challenges; Evansville Cutting Women's Tennis

The International Tennis Federation has been running a series on the 16 competitors for next week's Junior Masters in Chengdu China.  Each of the eight boys and eight girls will be profiled separately, with a detailed look at their best results in both junior and ITF Pro Circuit events.  So far, two of the three US girls and the lone US boy have been profiled, with Sofia Sewing's article here, Taylor Johnson's article here, and Trent Bryde's article here.  An article on Whitney Osuigwe, who is also playing the Junior Masters, has not yet appeared.

The participants:

Yibing Wu (CHN)
Axel Geller (ARG)
Yu Hsiou Hsu (TPE)
Jurij Rodionov (AUT)
Marko Miladinovic (SRB)
Sebastian Baez (ARG)
Trent Bryde (USA)
Emil Ruusuvuori (FIN)

Whitney Osuigwe (USA)
Marta Kostyuk (UKR)
Elena Rybakina (RUS)
Kaja Juvan (SLO)
Sofia Sewing (USA)
Xin Yu Wang (CHN)
Maria Lourdes Carle (ARG)
Taylor Johnson (USA)

Osuigwe is playing the ITF Grade A Mayor's Cup in Osaka Japan this week, as is Wang, but they are the only two in the draws, boys or girls, who are playing the Junior Masters beginning next Wednesday. 

Both have advanced to the round of 16, which will get underway soon. Osuigwe will face No. 16 seed Oona Orpana of Finland, and Wang will play No. 13 seed Viktoriia Dema of Ukraine.  Americans Dalayna Hewitt and Hina Inoue lost their second round matches.


Sixteen-year-old Tristan Boyer, who like Osuigwe played the Pan American Closed last week, has advanced to the round of 16, his first third round appearance at a Grade A.  He will meet unseeded Stefan Storch of Australia next.  While 15 of 16 girls seeds advanced to the third round, only 10 of the 16 boys seeds did.  Top seed Yuta Shimizu of Japan and No. 2 seed Timofey Skatov of Russia are among those 10 who advanced.

US Open boys champion Wu Yibing of China will be playing the ITF Junior Masters next week after competing in the $125,000 ATP Challenger in Ningbo China. Wu, a wild card, lost in the first round to qualifier Jurij Rodionov of Austria, who also is in the Junior Masters field.  Since winning the title in New York, Wu has received wild cards into a Challenger, which he won, then an ATP 250, the Shanghai Masters and this week's Challenger. He has not won a match in those three events, which may help keep the attention away from him.  But becoming an ATP Top 100 player is Wu's goal, so he can expect to continue to receive more articles like this one from CNN, which explores why the Chinese women have been more successful than the Chinese men in breaking into the top levels of the pro game.

The elimination of a Division I tennis program never comes at a good time, but the University of Evansville made a particularly poor choice in its decision to cut the women's program now, in the midst of the fall season.  This leaves the players with few options as far as transferring, although their scholarships will be honored if they choose to stay. They just won't be able to play varsity tennis.  For more on the decision to cut the program, see this article.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Seven Division I ITA Regional Champions Crowned; Di Lorenzo Beats No. 2 Seed Schmiedlova in Florence $25K; American Men Move on in Las Vegas Challenger, Harlingen Futures

The Division I ITA Regional Championships began last weekend, with five women's championships and two men's championships now in the books, with 17 remaining to be completed by next Monday. The winners receive automatic entry into the Oracle Fall Championships next month in Indian Wells. The results of the finals are below, with links to complete draws available at the ITA's webpage.

Women Singles/Doubles:

Mountain:
Marianna Petrei, Idaho, def. Linda Huang, Colorado 7-5, 6-4
Julia O'Laughlin and Hada Chang, Denver def. Marianna Petrei and Lucia Badillos, Idaho 6-3, 6-3

Ohio Valley:
Justina Mikulskyte, Kentucky def. Silvia Ambrosio, Purdue 7-6(9), 6-3
Mami Adachi and Akvile Parazinskaite, Kentucky def. Justina Mikulskyte and Lesedi Jacobs, Kentucky 6-4, 3-6, 10-8

Midwest:
Chiara Lommer, Michigan def. Shiori Fukudu, Ohio State 6-0, 6-4
Erin Larner and Madeline Lipp, Northwestern def. Lee Or and Alexandria Chatt, Northwestern 8-4 (I don't know why this regional did not play three sets in the final)

Atlantic:
Natalie Novotna, Virginia Tech def. Rose Johanson, Virginia 6-1 6-4
Meghan Kelley and Rosie Johanson, Virginia def. Cassie Mercer and Teodora Radosavljevic, Virginia 6-7(5), 6-3, 10-7

Texas:
Bianca Turati, Texas def. Petra Granic, Texas 7-5, 6-3
Lindsey Hodge and Wendy Zhang, Rice def. Marta Perez Mur and Dani Wagland, Texas 3-6, 6-4, 10-8

Men Singles/Doubles

Southeast:
Walker Duncan, Georgia def. Wayne Montgomery, Georgia 6-2, 6-3
Robert Loeb and Jan Zielinski, Georgia def. Oliver Crawford and Chase Perez-Blanco, Florida 6-4, 6-2

Carolina: Henry Patten, UNC-Asheville def. Alex Favarot, Clemson 6-3, 6-1
Christian Seraphim and Julian Zlobinsky, Wake Forest def. Alexis Galarneau and Michael Ogden, NC State 2-6, 6-3, 10-0



The USTA Pro Circuit has three events this week, with a $25,000 women's event in Florence South Carolina, a $25,000 men's Futures in Harlingen Texas and a $50,000 Challenger in Las Vegas Nevada.

A complete rainout on Monday meant the women still in qualifying had to play two matches today, but the qualifying is now complete. Jada Robinson, Hanna Chang, and Sabrina Santamaria(USC) are the Americans through to the main draw, with former Alabama star Erin Routliffe of New Zealand also advancing.

Five main draw matches were also played today, with Ohio State junior Francesca Di Lorenzo beating No. 2 seed Anna Karolina Schmiedlova of Slovakia 2-6, 6-3, 6-4.  The 23-year-old Schmiedlova, now 163, has been as high as 26 in the WTA rankings, but struggled to win matches on the tour last year and has been playing on the ITF Pro Circuit this year.  Taylor Townsend, last week's champion in Sumter, is the top seed and will face Wimbledon finalist Ann Li, a wild card, in the first round Wednesday.

The first round is complete in Las Vegas, with nine American men through to the second round: Tennys Sandgren[1], Stefan Kozlov[4], Kevin King, Marcos Giron, Michael Mmoh[6], Bradley Klahn, Evan King, Reilly Opelka[8] and qualifier Jared Hiltzik.  Great Britain's Cameron Norrie, who took last week off after winning two consecutive $100,000 Challengers in Northern California, is the No. 2 seed.  Fairfield Challenger champion Mackenzie McDonald withdrew with a hamstring injury.

In Harlingen, former Ole Miss star Nik Scholtz of South Africa is the No. 1 seed, with No. 2 seed Dennis Nevolo(Illinois) already through to the second round with a 6-2, 6-0 win over wild card DJ Thomas.  Ohio State sophomore JJ Wolf, another wild card, also advanced as did Illinois senior Aron Hiltzik and No. 7 seed Ulises Blanch.  Texas A&M senior Jordi Arconada received a wild card and Sebastian Korda, a finalist last week in Houston, received a special exemption into the main draw.  They, like unseeded Houston champion Thai Kwiatkowski, play their first round matches Wednesday.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Grade A Osaka Cup Underway in Japan; Americans Claim ITF Titles in South America and Caribbean

The main draw of ITF Grade A Osaka Mayor's Cup in Japan begins Tuesday (tonight here in the US) with three American girls and two American boys competing.  Pan American Closed champion Whitney Osuigwe, who is, of course, the No. 1 seed as the top-ranked ITF junior, had little time to overcome jet lag after leaving Tulsa on Sunday and arriving in Japan on Monday.  The other US girls in the draw are Dalayna Hewitt and Hina Inoue, both unseeded.  The top seed in the boys draw is Yuta Shimizu of Japan, with unseeded Tristan Boyer and Anuj Watane the two Americans in the 64-player draw.

In addition to the Grade B1 Pan American Closed last week, there were many other lower-level events, and while most Americans entered Tulsa, some found success elsewhere on the circuit.


At the Grade 5 in Curacao, 15-year-old Jennifer Kida claimed both the singles and doubles titles, losing just six games in her four singles victories. Kida, the top seed, defeated No. 6 seed Afrika Smith of the Bahamas 6-2, 6-1 for her second ITF junior title.  Although she has only been playing the ITF Junior Circuit since March, she earned her first title the day before, when She and Fiorella Bolona Medina, the No. 1 seeds, defeated the home country's team of Zima Gomez Osorio and Ana Sofia Jaramillo 6-1, 6-3 in the doubles final.

American juniors took three of the four titles at the Grade 5 in the Dominican Republic, with 16-year-old Gia Cohen and 15-year-old Andrew Dale claiming the singles championships and Kyra Foster winning the girls doubles.  The seventh-seeded Cohen, who had lost in the final of the previous week's Grade 5 in the Dominican Republic, won her first title with a 6-2, 6-7(7), 6-4 win over 15-year-old American Jackeline Lopez, the No. 4 seed.  Dale took his first ITF junior circuit title, with the No. 10 seed beating No. 8 seed Mateo Gomez of Colombia 6-2, 6-3 in the final. Foster and Cora Barber of Germany, the No. 7 seeds, won the doubles title with a 2-6, 6-2, 10-4 win over No. 4 seeds Isabella Perez of Venezuela and Eva Tasdemir of Turkey.

Fifteen-year-old Jaedan Brown won her second straight title this week at a Grade 4 in Brazil. Two weeks ago, after receiving a wild card into qualifying, Brown won her first ITF title without dropping a set. Last week, after earning entry via a special exemption, she again blitzed through the draw without dropping a set, beating top seed Nathalia Wolf Gasparin of Brazil 6-1, 6-0 in the final. Brown's only previous match in the  ITF Junior Circuit main draw (before these last two tournaments in Brazil) was a second round loss at the Grade 4 in Newport Beach California.

At the Grade 2 in Chile, Kacie Harvey won the doubles title, with partner Ana Makatsaria of Georgia.  The No. 5 seeds defeated No. 4 seeds Marina Figueiredo of Brazil and Jimar Gerald Gonzalez of Chile 6-3, 6-3 in the final.

USTA National 14s champion Saud Alhogbani, who lives in Virginia and trains in College Park Maryland but plays under the flag of Saudi Arabia, won his first ITF junior title last week at the Grade 5 in Kuwait.  The unseeded 14-year-old defeated top seed Viktor Jovic of Serbia 6-2, 6-1 in the semifinals and qualifier Raphael Collignon of Belgium 7-5, 6-1 in the final.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Americans McDonald, Kwiatkowski and Townsend Win Pro Circuit Titles; Small College Champions Crowned at Oracle Cup

2016 NCAA champion Mackenzie McDonald won the first Challenger of his career today at the $100,0000 ATP tournament in Fairfield California, defeating 2010 NCAA champion Bradley Klahn 6-4 6-2.  The 22-year-old from Piedmont California, which is less than an hour away from Fairfield, had been a regular at the quarterfinals and semifinal stages of Challengers since (and even before) leaving UCLA after his junior year last spring.  But this was his first final, capping an impressive week that saw him defeat No. 6 seed Stefan Kozlov in the first round and No. 2 seed Tennys Sandgren in the quarterfinals.  Klahn, who has been ranked as high as 63 before injuries set him back, is also displaying excellent form, making his second consecutive final at $100,000 Challengers this week.  McDonald will move past his previous career high of 196 to around 164.

David O'Hare of Ireland, who competed in college at Memphis, won the doubles title with Great Britain's Luke Bambridge.  The No. 2 seeds beat the wild card team of  Akram El Sallaly of Egypt and Bernardo Oliveira of Brazil 6-4, 6-2 in the final. El Sallaly and Oliveira are members of the University of the Pacific men's team.


At the $25,000 Futures tournament in Houston, 2017 NCAA champion Thai Kwiatkowski claimed his second career Futures title, beating 17-year-old Sebastian Korda 6-2, 6-2 in another final between unseeded players.  Kwiatkowski, who graduated from Virginia this spring, won his first title late last year in Puerto Rico, but hadn't gotten past the quarterfinals in any event this year.  This week the 22-year-old from North Carolina didn't lose a set and took out three seeds, including top seed Austin Krajicek in the semifinals.  Korda reached his first Futures final with an impressive 6-1, 6-2 win over No. 2 seed Lucas Miedler of Austria. His best showing at a Futures until this week was a quarterfinal back in January.

The unseeded team of Dennis Nevolo and Aron Hiltzik, former and current University of Illinois standouts, won the doubles title, beating top seeds Kwiatkowski and Krajicek 7-6(3), 6-3. It's the first Pro Circuit title for Hiltzik, a senior at Illinois.

Unlike the men's USTA Pro Circuit events, the women's final at the $25,000 tournament in Sumter South Carolina featured two seeded players, with top seed Taylor Townsend taking the title.  Townsend, who didn't lose a set all week, defeated No. 7 seed Ulrikke Eikeri of Norway 6-1, 6-2 in the singles final today. Townsend also won the doubles title Saturday, with Jessica Pegula. The unseeded pair beat top seeds Alexandra Mueller and Caitlin Whoriskey 4-6, 7-5, 10-5 in the final. It's Townsend's 13th career doubles title on the Pro Circuit, but her first this year.

The Oracle Cup, the ITA's National Championships for the Small Colleges, concluded today in Rome Georgia with the doubles playoffs.
Yesterday the singles champions were decided for Junior College, NAIA, Division II and Division III, with all eight winners receiving entry into next month's National Fall Championships in Indian Wells.  Previously, only the playoff winner, decided in a competition between the four champions, would advance to the National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships, but now that the tournament is a 64 draw, not 32, all four singles champions will earn a spot in the draw.  The doubles champions did have a playoff, with only one men's and one women's team receiving entry into the Fall Championships.  Those teams were decided today, with NAIA Georgia Gwinnett's Kevin Konfederak and Gilad Berman winning the men's overall doubles title and Division III's Eudice Chong and Victoria Yu of Wesleyan taking the women's overall doubles title.

The singles champions who will advance to Indian Wells:

MEN:
NAIA: Kevin Konfederak, Georgia Gwinnett
Division II: Kiranpal Pannu, Columbus State
Division III: Mohanad Al Houni, Gustavus Adolphus
Junior College: Marcus Walters, Tyler JC

WOMEN:
NAIA: Camille Gbaguidi, Savannah College of Art and Design
Division II: Sonja Larsen, Barry
Division III: Eudice Chong, Wesleyan
Junior College: Tamara Arnold, Tyler JC

The ITA's recap of Saturday's singles finals is available here.  The recap of the doubles playoffs is here.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Top Seeds Osuigwe and Fenty Claim ITF Grade B1 Pan American Closed Championships

©Colette Lewis 2017--
Tulsa, OK--

Whitney Osuigwe and Andrew Fenty arrived at ITF Grade B1 Pan American Closed as the top seeds. Saturday, they left the University of Tulsa's Michael Case Tennis Center with the winners' trophies after earning straight-sets wins in the finals.

On a warm and increasingly breezy morning, Osuigwe defeated No. 3 seed Natasha Subhash 6-4, 6-3, just a few minutes before Fenty completed his 6-2, 7-5 victory over unseeded Emilio Nava.

Osuigwe started out quickly against Subhash, taking a 5-1 lead in the first set, holding serve easily, while Subhash lost consecutive two four-deuce games on her serve.

"I think I just started a little bit slow," said Subhash, who didn't think nerves played a role in her lackluster start.  "But once I got used to it, I picked it up a little more."

After getting three easy holds to take the 5-1 lead, Osuigwe served for the set twice, but didn't get to set point either time.  Both girls were not pleased with the chair umpire's calls throughout the first set, and Osuigwe seemed to lose patience serving at 5-3, particularly when what she thought were good first serves were called out.

But Subhash was unable to get a hold serving at 4-5, with Osuigwe breaking at love to take the 52-minute first set.

"I think I let my emotions get to me when I felt the ref made a couple of bad calls," Osuigwe said. "She started playing better, and everything rolled over, but I kept trying to keep my focus and it wound up working for me at 5-4. I broke her earlier in the set, and I was coming close almost every single time on her serve, so I knew I just had to take care of the important points."

Subhash rebounded quickly from the poor game that ended the first set, breaking Osuigwe for a 2-1 lead, then holding for 3-1. Given her previous success in breaking Subhash however, Osuigwe wasn't too concerned about that deficit.

"I was only down a break, so all I had to do was keep holding my serve and just break her once," said Osuigwe, who got the break back and held for a 4-3 lead.

Subhash came back from 0-30 down serving at 3-4, but double faulted at 30-all to give Osuigwe a chance to break, and a Subhash backhand error gave Osuigwe the game.

"I think I backed off a little," Subhash said of her performance in the final few games of her first Grade 1 final. "She raised her level, so it was both probably."

Unlike the first set, Osuigwe finished off the second set and match without any further complications, a victory that will return her to the No. 1 position in the ITF World Junior rankings, a position she occupied for just one week this summer.

"I'm playing a couple more tournaments, so hopefully I can get ahead by more, but I think I should be there for a little bit longer this time," said Osuigwe, who didn't lose more than four games in any set all week.

The next two weeks are important for Osuigwe's goal of finishing the year as the ITF World Junior Champion.  She plays the Grade A in Osaka Japan and the ITF Junior Masters in Chengdu China, with an opportunity to extend her lead in the rankings, which will determine her schedule the rest of the year.

Osuigwe acknowledges that making her goal public could add to the pressure to the year's final tournaments, but she doesn't dwell on that aspect of it.

"I'm a pretty free player, I'd say," said the 15-year-old IMG Academy student, who won the French Open girls title this year. "Obviously it's in the back of my mind, and I just try and forget about it while I'm playing."

Fenty's win over Nava provided a different narrative from his previous two matches, where he dropped the first set and was down a break in the second before securing those victories.

At 2-2 in the first set, Fenty got a break, then got a second, as Nava had difficulty keeping his shots in the court. Up 5-2, Fenty was down 0-40 serving for the set, but he saved those three break points and one other before closing out his first set point with a good first serve.

"In the first set I was missing a little too much," said Nava, a 15-year-old playing in his first ITF Grade 1 tournament. "I should have made just one more extra ball then."

Having never played Nava before, Fenty wasn't sure whether Nava's unforced errors would continue.

"I was really confused," said Fenty. "They were simple misses, and I didn't know if he was like, tight and then he would start making it, that he was tight, but that he would heat up.  But I just got really comfortable, too comfortable."

In the second set, Fenty went up a break twice in the early going but gave both breaks back. He broke for a third time to take a 4-3 lead and held easily for 5-3, but in the next game, Fenty admitted he let his mind drift to victory.

"I made a mistake," admitted the 17-year-old from Washington D.C. "It was 6-2, 5-3, 30-0 and I literally started thinking about the win."

Nava brought it back to 30-all, but a forehand winner from Fenty brought about the first match point. Nava saved that with several strong forehands that led to a backhand winner, but he missed a backhand volley on the next point to give Fenty another match point. Nava saved that when Fenty's return went long, and he won the next two points to force Fenty to serve out the match at 5-4.

With a double fault to start the game, Fenty couldn't get back on track. Nava forced an error for 15-40 and then hit a backhand volley winner to bring himself back even. Serving at 5-5, Nava had three game points in the four-deuce game, but Fenty's defense wore him down, with Fenty breaking on his second opportunity.

"I had a chance to hold at 5-all, a couple of game points, but he played some great defense," Nava said. "I was inside the court and he was just back there making balls in and I got a little too crazy, went for shots, when I should have just kept moving him around. But he's a great player, a great defender, a great offensive player too--strong, with great weapons."

Fenty had played well when he was down in his earlier matches, and he admitted that he got that back-to-the-wall feeling in the 5-all game, but he knew the outcome of the match was up to him.

"He was playing the same way, though he played better at the end a little bit, but still, everything that happened was my fault," Fenty said. "The match was in my hands."

Serving for the match a second time, Fenty served well, closing it out on a good first serve to secure his first Grade 1 title, a relief rather than a triumph in his view.

"I haven't played my best tennis all week," Fenty said. "I've just been super tight, super nervous. I don't really like the courts and the conditions, but I can't complain. I just won."

Fenty is returning to his base at the Junior Tennis Champions Center in College Park Maryland before next month's Grade A and Grade 1 in Mexico.


After a short rest period, Fenty was back on the court for the boys doubles title, but he and partner William Woodall fell short in the championship match.  The number two seeds fell 3-6, 6-2, 10-8 to top seeds Govind Nanda and Trey Hilderbrand, who were playing together for the first time.

Hilderbrand has an ab injury, which forced him to serve underhand throughout the match.

"I got worse throughout the week," said Hilderbrand, who lost in the opening round of singles as the No. 2 seed. "As the week went on, it got pretty bad, but somehow, we were able to win."

"I think we just fought," said Nanda. "I think we believed in ourselves throughout the whole tournament."

"We competed the whole tournament," said Hilderbrand, a 17-year-old from San Antonio. "Got through three 10-point busters and somehow did it."

Up 5-1 at the first changeover of the match tiebreaker, Nanda and Hilderbrand had to withstand Fenty and Woodall's comeback, which saw them win five of the next six points to make it 6-6. With Fenty serving at 8-8, Nanda was able to put away short ball off a second serve and Nanda converted the first match point on his serve, with a forehand forcing an error.

"We both like coming in and we both like returning, and playing aggressive at the net;  I think that's what helped us." said Nanda, a 16-year-old from Cerritos California.  "It's a good combo," said Hilderbrand, who plans to take the next few weeks off to get healthy.

Nanda will play Futures tournaments in Florida next month, with the pair planning to reunite at the Orange Bowl in December.


Girls doubles champions Peyton Stearns and Nicole Mossmer were also taking the court together as a team for the first time, but the No. 4 seeds looked extremely comfortable in their 6-3, 6-2 victory over No. 3 seeds Hailey Baptiste and Sabina Dadaciu.  At least they looked comfortable after overcoming a 3-1 deficit in the first set.

"I whiffed an overhead in the first game, so I was like, oh my god, this might not go very well," said Mossmer, a 17-year-old from La Jolla California. "But then I started playing really well at the net, and Peyton was feeling her forehand, ripping the ball, so it worked out well."

Stearns and Mossmer trailed 16s National Champions Angelica Blake and Nikki Redeljik 6-4, 3-0 in the quarterfinals before rebounding for a 4-6, 7-5, 11-9 victory.

"On the bench, we were just like, let's just play, let's play tennis," said Stearns, a 16-year-old from Mason Ohio, of that turnaround. "We came back, and we gained some confidence and that really helped our game there."

Stearns, who ended up with Mossmer after her original partner withdrew, believes their contrasting styles provide them with an advantage.

"Our games mix really well because we have two different kind of balls," Stearns said. "I feel like that's really hard for the other players to get a rhythm off of."