– Brooke Austin (16, Indianapolis) played well enough against collegians this weekend that she will get a chance to play against professionals.
Austin capped a perfect three days at the USTA Collegiate Invitational presented by Adidas at the Tualatin Hills Tennis Center in Portland, Ore., by defeating Georgia’s Maho Kowase, 10-4, in the Adidas Shootout final, earning a USTA wild-card entry into a USTA Pro Circuit event to be determined.
The 2012 Easter Bowl finalist began Sunday by beating Georgia’s Kate Fuller, 6-2, 6-4, to go 3-0 in Group Play and claim a spot in the Adidas Shootout, used to determine the champion. Before taking down Kowase in the title match, Austin beat Michigan’s Brooke Bolender, 10-3, and Georgia’s Lauren Herring, 10-8.
The USTA Collegiate Invitational presented by Adidas was one of three events this fall combining junior and collegiate players, which Austin said proved beneficial.
"You’re put in a totally different situation. It’s definitely one that us juniors don’t get put in as much, so it’s a really good experience, and I learned a lot," Austin said. "I feel great. I mean, it was a really good experience. I played really well, and it was a lot a fun."
Though Austin was the only USTA junior to advance beyond Group Play in Portland, the squad as a whole went 15-8 in Group Play, including 2-1 records from Kimberly Yee (16, Las Vegas), Dasha Ivanova (16, Beaverton, Ore.), Caroline Doyle (16, San Francisco), Gabrielle Andrews (15, Pomona, Calif.) and Jennifer Brady (17, Boca Raton, Fla.)
At the USTA Collegiate Clay Court Invitational at Disney World in Orlando, meanwhile, the USTA junior boys went 8-0 in singles matches on Sunday, the last day of competition. Chase Perez-Blanco (16, Miami) capped a 4-0 tournament by defeating Central Florida’s Kiku Aulina, 6-1, 6-0, to win the Spear Draw, one of the event’s three singles draws.
"I feel like I played really well, improved after every match," Perez-Blanco said. "I knew the competition level was going to be really tough, and I knew I’d have to play my best, and I did. It was a great weekend. It was fun hanging out with the guys, and the practice was amazing.
"Just the level of competition from a junior to a college player is such a jump. Just coming out here and seeing how they play really shows you what level you have to be at when you play in college, so it makes you want to work harder and get to that level quicker so you’re ready."
Consolation-match victories on Sunday included: Martin Redlicki (17, Hawthorn Woods, Ill.) def. Bryan Welnetz, Penn State, 7-5, 6-4; Roy Lederman (17, Miami) def. Jonny Wang, Southern California, 6-7 (4), 6-3 (10-7); Deiton Baughman (16, Carson, Calif.) def. vs. Kai-Wen Lai, Kentucky, 7-5, 6-1; George Goldhoff (17, Irvine, Calif.) def. Russel Bader, Penn State, 6-1, 4-6 (10-6); Gage Brymer (17, Irvine, Calif.) def. Nathan Rakitt, Georgia Tech, 6-2, 7-5; Ryan Smith (17, Weston, Fla.) def. Rich Meade, Florida Atlantic, 6-4, 6-2; and Ronnie Schneider (18, Bloomington, Ind.) def. Luke Johnson, Florida, 6-2, 6-0.
Overall, the USTA juniors went 19-8 in singles competition over the three days at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.
"It’s always good to have your last match a win because you leave the tournament with some more confidence than when you came in," said Smith, a Vanderbilt recruit. "Plus, you’re working on different things and knowing they’re working out for you in the matches, which is also a good thing."
"I just came here to really practice. I got my matches and got a little time on the court, so that was important for me," Lederman said. "I wasn’t practicing much at home, and this was really helpful. I got in good shape. You’re playing outside in the sun. It’s hot, and it’s a grind all three days, and I feel I’m in better shape now than when I got here."
In the Gold Draw singles final, Southern California’s Roberto Quiroz, who has practiced with Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros, defeated Duke’s Michael Redlicki, 6-1, 6-3.
"It was a great tournament – great players, great universities here. I think I played my best tennis this week, so I’m pretty happy about that," Quiroz said. "I’m pretty happy to be part of this successful tennis tournament, and I really want to play this next year."
In the Garnet Draw final, Cristian Gonzalez Mendez of host school Florida State scored a 6-2, 4-6, 7-6 (2) win over The Citadel’s David Orces. In the final of the doubles Gold Draw, Duke’s team of Redlicki and Jason Tahir beat Kentucky’s Tom Jomby and Kai-Wen Lai, 8-6. In the Garnet Draw doubles final, Tulsa’s Alejandro Espejo Sanchez and Martin Kirby beat Florida State’s Andres Bucaro and Michael Rinaldi, 8-1.
For complete information on the USTA Collegiate Invitational presented by Adidas, click here
. For more information on the USTA Collegiate Clay Court Invitational at Disney, click here.
USTA COLLEGIATE CLAY COURT INVITATIONAL AT DISNEY HOSTED BY FLORIDA STATE (Orlando, Fla.)
For the third straight year this fall, the USTA will serve as title sponsor and host of the USTA/ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships, held at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center’s indoor tennis center. The USTA will also serve as the title sponsor of the USTA/ITA National Small College Championships, the USTA/ITA National Collegiate Wheelchair Championships and more than 85 USTA/ITA Regional Tournaments. In all, close to 10,000 players from nearly 600 schools participate annually in the USTA/ITA Regional Championships. The USTA also names its Collegiate Team, an elite training program for top American collegiate tennis players that began in 1996 and is funded by the USTA. It is designed to provide college players with valuable exposure to the USTA Pro Circuit in a team-oriented environment during the year. Current pros who were members of prior USTA Summer Collegiate Teams include: James Blake, Bob Bryan, Mike Bryan, John Isner, Mallory Burdette and Irina Falconi.