The Mid-Atlantict team won the 2012 10.0 Mixed National title
© Juan Ocampo
By J. Fred Sidhu, special to USTA.com
TUCSON, Ariz. – The Mid-Atlantic Section team from Washington, D.C. saved its best tennis for last day as it swept past the Southern California Section team from Irvine, Calif. 3-0 to win the 10.0 title at the USTA League Mixed Doubles National Championships.
On a bright, sunny day at the El Conquistador Golf & Tennis Resort, Mid-Atlantic dominated the championship match, winning each of the three doubles matches in straight sets.
"It feels awesome. The entire team came together this weekend and played great," said Captain Sam Leiber. "We played our best match in the final. I couldn’t be prouder of our team."
Leiber, who was playing at a USTA National Championship for the first time after playing league tennis for 20 years, credited the women on his team for their success this weekend in Tucson.
"The key to 10.0 Mixed Doubles is how good your women are and our women are...the best in the tournament," he said. "Because our women are so strong, it makes it very difficult for any opponent that we play."
Leiber added, "It’s very special. We came together and stepped it up and played great tennis throughout the whole tournament. I’m so happy for the entire team."
In the 8.0 Championship Final, the Southern California Section team from La Habra, Calif. scored a 2-1 victory over the Middle States Section team from Cinnaminson, N.J.
As team members proudly cheered "Puerto Rico, Puerto Rico!" the Caribbean Section team defeated Hawaii 3-0 to capture the 6.0 title.
Despite a loss to Pacific Northwest on Friday, the Caribbean Section team from Caguas, P.R. won a difficult five-team flight to advance to this morning’s semifinals, where they just managed to get past Mid-Atlantic 2-1 to reach the 6.0 final.
Caribbean withstood a tough challenge in the final against the Hawaii Section team from Honolulu.
Caribbean’s Carlos Rodriguez teamed with Michelle Mont Bianchi for a 7-6, 6-1 victory over Jonathan Riel and Rika Uechi of Hawaii in the No. 3 doubles.
With a 1-0 lead, Caribbean won the No. 1 and No. 2 doubles matches in very tightly-contested matches that were decided in third set match tiebreaks.
"It was really exciting. It was tough in the semifinals," said Rodriguez, who was also a member of Caribbean’s 2.5 Mixed championship team last week in Tucson. "The key was making low unforced errors and keeping the ball in play. The chemistry we have as a team is definitely really important."
The Caribbean Section team, which plays at the Hacienda San Jose Tennis Club, is captained by Erick Omar Ujaque and Nydia Ayala and included: Carlos Rodriguez, Michelle Mont Bianchi, Yahaira Ponce Lozada, Vilmaliz Rodriguez, Rafael Nieves-Lai and Edgardo Medina.
The Eastern Section team from Edison, N.J. finished in third place as they defeated the Mid-Atlantic Section team from Washington, D.C., 2-1.
Championship: Caribbean (Caguas, P.R.) def. Hawaii (Honolulu, Hawaii), 3-0
Third Place: Eastern (Edison, N.J.) def. Mid-Atlantic (Washington, D.C.), 2-1
Semifinal 1: Caribbean (Caguas, P.R.) def. Mid-Atlantic (Washington, D.C.), 2-1
Semifinal 2: Hawaii (Honolulu, Hawaii) def. Eastern (Edison, N.J.), 3-0
Championship: Southern California (La Habra, Calif.) def. Middle States (Cinnaminson, N.J.), 2-1
Third Place: Southwest (Phoenix, Ariz.) def. Southern (Memphis, Tenn.), 3-0
Semifinal 1: Southern California (La Habra, Calif.) def. Southern (Memphis, Tenn.), 2-1
Semifinal 2: Middle States (Cinnaminson, N.J.) def. Southwest (Phoenix, Ariz.), 2-1
Championship: Mid-Atlantic (Washington, D.C.) def. Southern California (Irvine, Calif.), 3-0
Third Place: Florida (Sarasota, Fla.) def. Intermountain (Boise, Idaho), 2-1
Semifinal 1: Mid-Atlantic (Washington, D.C.) def. Intermountain (Boise, Idaho), 3-0
Semifinal 2: Southern California (Irvine, Calif.) def. Florida (Sarasota, Fla.), 2-1