By J. Fred Sidhu, special to USTA.com
TUCSON, Ariz. – In a battle of unbeaten 2.5 teams, the Caribbean Section from San Lorenzo, P.R., swept the Northern California Section from Oakland, Calif., 3-0 to take sole possession of first place in Flight 9 at the USTA Mixed Doubles National Championships.
On a chilly but sunny day at the El Conquistador Golf & Tennis Resort, the Caribbean Section team improved its record to 3-0, while Northern California fell to 2-1.
Despite the score, the victory was anything but easy for the Caribbean team, which came into the match having lost only 21 games.
Vilmaliz Rodriguez and Orlando Flecha got the Caribbean team off to a strong start with a dominating 6-1, 6-2 victory over Northern California’s Jackson Chan and Gena Chappell in the No. 3 doubles match in Court 16.
However, the Caribbean No. 1 doubles team of Carlos Rodriguez and Yahaira Ponce Lozada had its hands full against Brad Schomburg and Helen Yang on Court 15 before they pulled out a dramatic 7-6 (4), 6-7 (3), 1-0 (5) win to seal the team victory.
The Caribbean Section completed the sweep, as Mariely Rivera and Edwin Ramos combined to win the No. 2 doubles over David Ly and Emily Moya of Northern California, 7-6, 6-2.
"The match was super difficult. The girls on our team were tremendous. They are the ones that helped our team out," said Caribbean team captain Augusto Flores. "The guys on our team are very good, but it was the girls that played with a big heart, and they led our team to this victory."
Flores said his team would be very proud to win the 2.5 National Championship this weekend, but they have two matches still to play and are focusing on them one match at a time.
"Puerto Rico has won various national titles this year, and we would like to bring home another title in mixed doubles," he said.
The 2.5 Caribbean Section (3-0) will play Midwest (0-3) later today and Mid-Atlantic (1-2) on Sunday.
7.0 Mixed Doubles Standings:
Northern California (Folsom, Calif.), 3-0
Southern California (Fullerton, Calif.), 1-2
Northern (Rochester, Minn.), 1-2
Texas (Dallas, Texas), 1-2
Mid-Atlantic (Rockville, Md.), 3-0
Pacific Northwest (Mill Creek, Wash.), 1-1
Intermountain (Boise, Idaho), 1-2
New England (Haverhill, Mass.), 0-2
Southwest (El Paso, Texas), 3-0
Middle States (Basking Ridge, N.J.), 2-1
Missouri Valley (Des Moines, Iowa), 1-2
Hawaii (Maui, Hawaii), 0-3
Caribbean (San Juan, P.R.), 3-0
Southern (Knoxville, Tenn.), 2-1
Florida (Tallahassee, Fla.), 1-2
Midwest (Muncie, Ind.), 0-3
9.0 Mixed Doubles Standings:
Texas (Houston, Texas), 2-0
Southern (Charleston, S.C.), 2-1
Florida (South Miami Dade, Fla.), 1-1
Midwest (Stow, Ohio), 1-2
Northern California (Danville, Calif.), 0-2
Eastern (Rye, N.Y.), 2-0
Middle States (Skillman, N.J.), 2-1
Northern (Minneapolis, Minn.), 1-1
Southern California (Upland, Calif.), 1-1
New England (Manchester, N.H.), 0-3
Mid-Atlantic (Annapolis, Md.), 3-0
Pacific Northwest (Seattle, Wash.), 2-1
Intermountain (Colorado Springs, Colo.), 2-1
Hawaii (Maui, Hawaii), 0-2
Southwest (Phoenix, Ariz.), 0-3
2.5 Mixed Doubles Standings:
Caribbean (San Lorenzo, P.R.), 3-0
Northern California (Oakland, Calif.), 2-1
Florida (Ocala, Fla.), 2-1
Mid-Atlantic (Columbia, Md.), 1-2
Southern (Mandeville, La.), 1-2
Midwest (Grosse Pointe, Mich.), 0-3