By J. Fred Sidhu & Melissa Krueger, special to USTA.com
TUCSON, Ariz. -- The 10.0 Southern California Section wild card team from Irvine, Calif. continued its amazing run at the 2012 USTA League Mixed Doubles National Championships as they squeezed past the Florida Section, 2-1 to advance to Sunday’s 10.0 final.
Southern California will face the Mid-Atlantic Section team from Washington, D.C., a 3-0 semifinal winner over the Intermountain Section team from Boise, Idaho.
Earlier this year, the Irvine-based Southern California team finished second to a team from Calabasas, Calif. in the 10.0 Southern California Sectionals, but about a month ago, team captain Binoj Shaktidham received word from the USTA that his team was awarded a wild card to the Nationals.
At this weekend’s Nationals at the El Conquistador Golf & Tennis Resort, the Southern California team defeated Southern, Missouri Valley and Eastern Sectional team to finish 3-0 and win Flight 10 and advance to the semifinals on Saturday afternoon.
After splitting the No. 1 and No. 3 doubles matches, Florida and Southern California were tied at 1-1 in their semifinal encounter. In the No. 2 doubles match, Shaktidham teamed with Erynne Oki for a 6-4, 4-6, 1-0 (10) victory over Florida’s Susan Dean and Scott Schuhriemen.
"It was just basically making a lot of balls in play and we were just calm and confident," Shaktidham said following the clinching victory that sent his team to the 10.0 finals. "It’s great to be here, playing great tennis."
When asked about the team’s chances in the championship, he said, "We’ll have to rest, play well and play every point one at a time."
The 10.0 final featuring Southern California against Mid-Atlantic is scheduled to be played at 10 a.m. ET on Sunday.
In 8.0 action, Southern California defeated Southern, 2-1 to advance to Sunday’s final against Middle States, which edged Southwest, 2-1. The final between Southern California and Middle States will begin at 10 a.m. ET.
The 6.0 semifinals were determined late Saturday afternoon. Caribbean will play Mid-Atlantic and Hawaii faces Eastern. The semifinals will also begin at 10 a.m. ET.
After a thrilling conclusion in Flight competition at the El Conquistador Golf & Tennis Resort, the 10.0 and 8.0 semifinal match-ups have been determined at the 2012 USTA League Mixed Doubles National Championships.
The 10.0 Flight winners were: Mid-Atlantic (Flight 9); Southern California (Flight 10) and Florida (Flight 11).
In the first 10.0 semifinal, the Mid-Atlantic Section team (3-0) from Washington, D.C. will play the Intermountain Section team from Boise, Idaho, which finished with the best 2nd place record in Flight 11 at 2-1.
The second 10.0 semifinal will feature the Wild Card Southern California team (3-0) from Irvine, Calif. against the Florida Section team (3-0) from Sarasota, Fla.
The 8.0 Flight winners were: Southern California (Flight 5); Southwest (Flight 6); Southern (Flight 7) and Middle States (Flight 8).
The first 8.0 semifinal will pit the Southern California Section team (3-0) from La Habra, Calif. versus the Southern Section team (3-0) from Memphis, Tenn.
In the second 8.0 semifinal, the Southwest Section team (3-0) from Phoenix, Ariz. Will play the Middle States Section team (3-0) from Cinnaminson, N.J.
The 10.0 and 8.0 semifinals are scheduled to begin this afternoon at 4:30 p.m. ET.
Flight action continues in the 6.0 division which will play their semifinals at 10 a.m. ET on Sunday.
The 8.0 Southern California section was the first to punch its ticket to the semifinals at the 2012 USTA League 6.0, 8.0, 10.0 Mixed Doubles National Championships at the El Conquistador Golf & Tennis Resort. The team from La Habra, Calif., remained undefeated in its flight with a sweep of the New England section.
For acting captain Jennifer Burggraf and partner Jon Mak, it has been quite the adventure to get to Nationals. Their team "barely made it" to the Southern California Sectionals. Burggraf and Mak were also at Nationals in Tucson last year, but they lost in flight play.
Mak said last year's loss gave him and his partner something to strive for.
"We were extra motivated," he said about the 2012 Nationals.
Burggraf credited her team's winning ways to the support they have from home, saying, "Everyone here has someone to cheer us on."
Mak echoed that statement: "We have a good supporting group because our friends and family came out," he said.
The Southern California team will play the winner of Flight 7 in the semifinals.
Day 2 of the 2012 USTA League 6.0, 8.0, 10.0 Mixed Doubles National Championships at the El Conquistador Golf & Tennis Resort is set to begin at 10 a.m. ET.
Flight play will continue all day for the teams at the 6.0 level. The 6.0 New England section will begin the day with an event against Pacific Northwest. Also with early morning matches are the 6.0 Middle States section, which is undefeated in Flight 4, versus Florida; the 6.0 Texas section will take on Caribbean in Flight 1 action; and the 6.0 Southern California section will face Northern.
The 8.0 level teams will also see action during the first matches of the day, with four teams playing from Flight 5. The 8.0 New England team will play the unbeaten Southern California section. If the section from La Habra, Calif., comes away with a win, it will move onto the semifinals today. In more Flight 5 action, Pacific Northwest will face Eastern. In Flight 7, the 8.0 Intermountain section will play the team from the Northern California section.
Semifinal matches for the 8.0 and 10.0 levels are scheduled for approximately 4:30 p.m. ET today. At the 6.0 level, flight play will determine which teams will compete in the semifinals, which are slated for Sunday morning.
Check back throughout the day for updates on scores and results.