Second-seeded Megan McCray of Oceanside, Calif., advanced to the women's singels final.
© J. Fred Sidhu
By J. Fred Sidhu, special to USTA.com
SAN DIEGO -- After winning a bronze ball in last year’s USTA National Open Hard Court Championships, second-seeded Megan McCray is going for the gold this year.
The 16-year-old McCray from Oceanside, Calif. overcame a strong challenge from 13-year-old Parris Todd of Irvine, Calif. before pulling out a tough 6-2, 7-6 (3) semifinal victory at the Balboa Tennis Club.
McCray, who is currently ranked number one in the Girls 16s in Southern California, advances to Sunday’s final, where she will meet top-seeded Gabriella DeSimone of Rancho Santa Fe, Calif. at 9 a.m. PST.
DeSimone, who plays intercollegiate tennis for the University of Southern California, defeated San Diego’s Anna Yang, 6-1, 6-4, to reach the final.
McCray got off to a slow start in her semifinal win over Todd as she lost her serve in the opening game of the match. In the very next game, she got back on serve, but only after surviving a 28-point game that went to deuce 10 times.
"That was a pretty important game," said McCray, who picked up the level of her game and won five of the next six games to win the first set in 65 minutes. "I kept getting the ball back and everything got better."
There were a combined eight service breaks in the second set, which was eventually decided in a tiebreaker. McCray jumped to a 3-0 lead before winning the tiebreak 7-3 to end the match that took two hours and 20 minutes.
In the men’s singles semifinals, second-seeded Clarke Spinosa, a member of the University of San Diego men’s tennis team, defeated fourth-seeded Jonathan Pearlman of New York, N.Y., 1-6, 6-2, 6-3.
Spinosa will meet seventh-seeded Campbell Johnson of Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., a 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 winner over fifth-seeded Quinn Borchard of Camarillo, Calif. The men’s singles final will begin at 11 a.m. on Sunday.
The winners of each division will be awarded a USTA gold ball, while the runner-up will be awarded a USTA silver ball. There will also be a 3rd/4th place playoff for the USTA bronze ball. All draws will have consolation events.
Former tournament champions include current American stars Jack Sock and CoCo Vandeweghe and former touring tennis professionals Gretchen Magers, Rosalyn Nideffer and Allison Bradshaw.
Men’s Singles - Semifinals
Clarke Spinosa (2), Claremont, def. Jonathan Pearlman (4), New York, N.Y., 1-6, 6-2, 6-3
Campbell Johnson (7), Rancho Santa Fe, def. Quinn Borchard (5), Camarillo, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3
Women’s Singles - Semifinals
Gabriella DeSimone (1) Rancho Santa Fe, def. Anna Yang (4) San Diego, 6-1, 6-4
Megan McCray (2), Oceanside, def. Parris Todd, Irvine, 6-2, 7-6 (3)