2013 Men's Singles Champion Clark Spinosa of Claremont, Calif.
© J. Fred Sidhu
2013 Women's Singles Champion Megan McCray of Oceanside, Calif.
© J. Fred Sidhu
By J. Fred Sidhu, special to USTA.com
SAN DIEGO -- An incredible week of tennis came to a close as the 2013 USTA National Open Hard Court Championships wrapped up play on June 9 at the Balboa Tennis Club.
Unlike USTA National age division tournaments, which are only open to a particular age group, the National Open event is open to everyone. Among the more than 160 tournament entries were an 11-year-old junior player and a 70-year-old senior competitor. In the end, however, it was a current NCAA Division I player and a future college tennis star that took home USTA gold balls after winning singles titles.
Men’s defending champion and top-seeded Clark Spinosa, a 22-year-old from Claremont, Calif., captured his second straight USTA National Open Hard Court title. Spinosa led, 4-1, in the first set of the men’s singles final when his opponent, Tim Kpulun of Newport Beach, Calif., retired with a lower back injury.
Spinosa recently completed his junior year at the University of San Diego, leading the Toreros to a dramatic 4-3 victory over the University of Alabama in the first round of the NCAA Championships.
"It feels great," Spinosa said after the final. "Anytime you win a gold ball it’s special, especially at this tournament. There are always a lot of fans and the competition is great. Overall, it’s just a fantastic tournament."
The 28-year-old Kpulun, who received a USTA silver ball for finishing second, is No. 1,418 in the ATP World Tour rankings. A citizen of Sierra Leone, Kpulun competes on the USTA Pro Circuit and the International Men’s Tennis Circuit.
On the women's side, the third time was the charm for 17-year-old Megan McCray from Oceanside, Calif. Two years ago she won the bronze ball for finishing third in the tournament. Last year, she reached the women’s singles final but fell short of winning the title and took home a USTA silver ball.
This year, the top-seeded McCray defeated third-seeded Kelly Shaffer, a 17-year-old from Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., 6-4, 6-1, in the women’s singles final to finally capture the elusive USTA gold ball.
"I’m so happy to finally win first place this year after getting second and third the previous years," McCray said following her straight-sets victory. "It feels really good. It’s the biggest tournament of the year in San Diego."
McCray, who turns 18 next month, and her 19-year-old sister Morgan, the fourth-place finisher in the tournament, will play collegiate tennis for Oklahoma State University starting this fall.
"It was a great week of tennis at the 2013 USTA National Open Hard Court Championships," said Tournament Director Colleen Clery Ferrell. "This tournament has really become a community event thanks to the support of our sponsors and the fans that came out to watch the matches each day. The players love the tournament atmosphere and enjoy playing at a historic venue like the Balboa Tennis Club. We're already looking forward to next year's event."
Former tournament champions include ATP touring professional Jack Sock and University of Southern California players Zoe Scandalis and Gabriella DeSimone, as well as former WTA touring professionals Gretchen Magers, Rosalyn Nideffer and Allison Bradshaw.
The USTA National Open Hard Court Championships was voted, "2011 Tournament of the Year" by the San Diego District Tennis Association.
In 1989, Balboa Tennis Club was rated as America's Best Public Tennis Facility by the USTA. In 2000, the San Diego District Tennis Association named BTC as Club of the Year. In 2003, it received the Outstanding Tennis Facility award from the USTA for large facilities in the United States.