Teenagers ruled the day at the US Open National Playoffs Southern California Sectional Qualifying Tournament in Claremont, claiming all four places in the US Open National Playoffs – Championships.
The men’s final pitted two standout junior boys, with JC Aragone, 17, of Yorba Linda, Calif., defeating his friend and doubles partner, Mackenzie McDonald, 18, of Piedmont, Calif., 6-4, 6-4. The two teamed in the 2013 Easter Bowl, where they reached the final.
Prior to the Easter Bowl, Aragone won the 2011 USTA Boys’ 16s National Championships. In 2012, Aragone suffered a variety of health problems, including kidney and liver failure, after an allergic reaction to medications for the flu. He was then diagnosed with Type I diabetes. Aragone has played in numerous junior events around the world and this year reached the third round of the USTA International Spring Championships in singles and the quarterfinals in doubles (with McDonald).
McDonald will still get a chance to compete in the US Open, however, after winning the mixed doubles title with partner Chanelle Van Nguyen, 19, of Coconut Grove, Fla. McDonald and Van Nguyen defeated current USC standout Kaitlyn Christian and 2012 USTA Southern California sectional qualifying singles winner Dante Cipulli, 6-3, 7-6(4), in the final. Van Nguyen, a former Top 50 junior, is a current standout for UCLA. She twice played in the US Open Junior Championships.
No. 1 seed Mayo Hibi, 17, of Irvine, Calif., did not drop one set en route to winning the women’s singles title, defeating No. 2 seed Elizabeth Lumpkin, 27, of Naperville, Ill., 6-3, 6-1, to capture her second consecutive USTA Southern California sectional qualifier women’s singles title. Hibi, who competes for Japan, won the $25,000 USTA Pro Circuit singles title in Las Cruces, N.M., this year, where she also reached the doubles final. She also captured the $10,000 USTA Pro Circuit event in Hilton Head Island, S.C., last year. In the juniors, Hibi is ranked No. 67 in the world after winning the 2013 Easter Bowl singles title and the USTA International Spring Championships in back-to-back weeks in April.
The winners or top available finishers from each of the 13 sectional qualifying tournaments held throughout the spring and summer advance to the US Open National Playoffs – Men’s, Women’s and Mixed Doubles Championships, to be held during the New Haven Open at Yale, an Emirates Airline US Open Series women’s event, in August.
The US Open National Playoffs mixed doubles champions receive a main draw wild card into the 2013 US Open, while the men’s and women’s singles champions earn a wild card into the US Open Qualifying Tournament held the week prior to the US Open.