Southern California may lose some of its 18-year olds to the collegiate circuit (if not the pro ranks!) this fall, but not before they take one more shot at USTA National titles across the country this week. With Girls Nationals underway in San Diego (www.ustagirlsnationals.com) and the Boys competition in Kalamazoo (www.ustaboys.com), #TeamSoCal is on the hunt for the most coveted junior championships in the United States.
GIRLS 18s NATIONALS
In San Diego, #13 seed Katrina Scott of Woodland Hills opened her Nationals campaign in fine fashion. The Woodland Hills native posted a 6-0, 6-0 win in the second round after a first round bye. Scott returns on Tuesday to face Victoria Hu of North Carolina.
The #14 seed Charlotte Chavatipon (Fullerton) also enjoyed a first round bye before posting a 6-2, 6-4 second round win over Arizona’s Misa Malkin. Chavatipon next meets Elizabeth Goldsmith of Chula Vista, who traded sets with Connecticut’s Mary Stoiana before advancing with a 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 win.
Anessa Lee enjoyed the rest of a first round bye and used that extra energy to plow through her opening match, 6-1, 6-1. The 17-seed from San Marino will face Lea Ma (#33) of New York on Tuesday afternoon. Ma reached the Round of 64 by double-bageling her opponent after dropping only two games in her opening match.
Junior Sectional and Open Sectional doubles champion Delanie Dunkle (Arroyo Grande) upset #17 seed Kylie Collins (Georgia) in a thrilling afternoon match-up. After winning the first set 6-1, Dunkle fought off a late rebuttal from Collins to secure a hard fought 7-5 tiebreaker. Dunkle faces #33 Anna Ross (South Carolina) on Tuesday.
Casie Wooten, a #33 seed from Torrance, has advanced unscathed in reaching the third round with two convincing victories. She faces a challenge from Nevada’s Audrey Boch-Collins (#17) on Tuesday.
Unseeded Jordyn McBride had to push hard for a spot in the second round after dropping her first set to open the tournament, rebounding in fine fashion to advance. McBride, of Valencia, needed a first set tiebreak to grab the momentum in her second round match, eventually closing out a straight set win. She next meets #8 Abigail Forbes of North Carolina.
Hometown hero Amy Huang has reached the third round with consecutive straight set wins. With a 6-0, 6-4 triumph over Sara McClure, San Diego’s Huang sets up a Tuesday meeting with #17 Karina Miller of Michigan.
Kimberly Hance (Torrance) came out swinging to begin her Nationals quest, dropping only one game in her first round win. Despite a late push from Illinois’ Gina Kondos on Monday, Hance moved into the third round and next meets #17 Malaika Rapolu of Texas.
Hailey Giavara of San Diego continues to bring the heat with sparkling footwork and immense power, and on Tuesday faces #16 Alexandra Yepifanova from Florida. Jenna DeFalco (Tustin) has dropped only five games in her first two wins, moving into the third round for a date with #17 Elizabeth Coleman.
BOYS 18s NATIONALS
The field at Boys 18s in Kalamazoo looks favorable to Southern California, with some of the region’s top talent in action and headed to the fourth round. Top seed Brandon Nakashima (San Diego) leads the pack, dropping only five games in his opening four sets. Nakashima, a celebrated SoCal champion who recently began his collegiate career at the University of Virginia, looks to close out his junior career with a title at Nationals this weekend.
UCLA’s Govind Nanda, the #5 seed from Cerritos, has looked impressive to date, also advancing to the fourth round without dropping a set. Nanda and Nakashima are also a force on the doubles trail as the #3 seed, winning a tiebreak to escape the second round before rolling through the third.
Talented Zachary Svajda, the #6 from San Diego, and La Mesa’s Siem Woldeab are also unscathed in doubles competition. In addition to sweeping four doubles sets so far, Svajda continues to advance in singles action with two straight set wins. Woldeab, the #27 seed, cruised in the first round and locked up a lengthy final set to sweep the #33 seed Jacob Bickersteth in the third round.
Stefan Dostanic (#9) has barely broken a sweat in his first two singles wins, though the Irvine native and fellow SoCal teammate Jacob Bullard needed a little overtime to lock up a three-set win over Matthew Mu (Irvine) and Niraj Komatineni in doubles to advance from the second round. The tandem subsequently toppled the #27 seed to advance to the third round.
Bullard, a #14 seed from Calabasas, picked up a second round win but later fell in three sets late Tuesday to Andre Ilagen of Hawaii.
On Tuesday, we catch up with 16s as they continue their pursuit of USTA titles.