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By Marcia Frost, special to USTA.com
SAN DIEGO -- The courts were filled all day at San Diego State University, the University of San Diego and especially the George E. Barnes Family Jr. Tennis Center, the main site for the USTA Girls’ 16 & 18 National Championships.
For the Girls’ 16s, it was round two, and that brought the top players to the court for the first time. Jessica Ho (Wexford, PA), the No. 1 seed, was stretched by Mehvish Safdar (Mason, OH), 2-6, 6-1, 6-0, but most of the top seeds advanced in straight sets. A great effort on the court in both play and sportsmanship earned Safdar the honor of Babolat Player of the Day.
While all of the top seeds moved on to the third round, some of the lower seeds did not survive day two. Four of the 17-32 seeds fell: Caroline Turner (Dallas, TX) to Jessica Failla (Ramona, CA), 6-3, 6-3; Annika Ringblom (Palos Verdes Estates, CA) to Alexandria Najarian (Birmingham, MI), 6-3, 3-6, 6-3; Luisa Fernandez (Pittsford, NY) to Savannah Durkin (Miramar, FL), 6-1, 6-2; and Sophie Chang (Havre De Grace, MD) to Bianca Moldovan (Livonia, MI), 6-2, 6-1.
In doubles, the 16s had two rounds to get through on Sunday. Fifth-seeded Caroline Brinson (Metairie, LA) and Meghan Cochran (Calhoun, GA) made it through their first match but fell to Ndindi Ndunda (Burke, VA) and Jwany Sherif (El Cajon, CA) in the third round, 7-5, 6-4. Lauren Goodman (Fort Wayne, IN) and Mary Haffey (Naples, FL), seeded 9-16 alphabetically, also won their first match and lost the second, to Erin Shibahara (Rancho Palos Verdes, CA) and Savannah Slaysman (Phoenix, AZ), 6-3, 6-1.
The Girls’ 18s headed onto the courts for the first time in the tournament, with the seeded players receiving byes. There were still some tough matches out there, including a four-hour marathon won by Samantha Asch (Princeton, NJ) over Ashley Noyes (Marblehead, MA), 4-6, 6-2, 7-5.
Local player Christina Makarova, who is currently ranked No. 23 in the ITF World Junior Rankings, took the court with fellow San Diego native Lindsey Kostas in doubles. The duo picked up a hard-fought win over Michelle Castro (Oakton, VA) and Maureen Slattery (Newport News, VA), 6-4, 7-6 (1). Makarova, who is seeded No. 9 in the singles draw, will be on stadium court Monday morning for her first singles match at approximately 9:30 am PST against Dayna Lord of Bloomfield, CT.
The 2012 USTA Girls’ Nationals is taking place at the Barnes Tennis Center in San Diego through August 12. You can follow tournament updates @USTAGirls on Twitter for updates throughout each day. The USTA Girls' 16 & 18 Nationals page on Facebook will have news and additional photos, as well as videos, throughout the tournament, as will the official website, http://www.ustagirlsnationals.com. Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa has joined the USTA Girls’ 16 & 18 Nationals as presenting sponsor this year. Visit our sponsors' webpage for a full list of the tournament’s supporters, including the host hotel, the Hilton Mission Valley.