Volynets, Svajda win
USTA National Championships
Arthur Kapetanakis | August 12, 2019
Top American juniors Katie Volynets, of Walnut Creek, Calif., and Zachary Svajda, of San Diego, won the USTA Girls’ and Boys’ 18s National Championships, respectively, on Sunday, each earning wild cards into the main draw of the US Open. Emma Navarro and Govind Nanda, as the respective runners-up, will receive wild cards into the US Open Qualifying Tournament.
Seventeen-year-old Volynets (pictured above, left) won the USTA Billie Jean King Girls’ 18s National Championships, defeating No. 3 seed Emma Navarro, 6-2, 6-4, in the final at the Barnes Tennis Center in San Diego. The second-seeded Volynets was ranked as high as No. 21 in the ITF Junior Rankings one year ago, but has not played a junior event since the 2018 US Open. She’s been a fixture on the ITF World Tennis Tour since last fall, reaching a W25 semifinal and two quarterfinals.ADVERTISEMENT
On the boys’ side, 16-year-old Svajda (above, right) took home the singles title after overcoming Govind Nanda, 6-7, 7-5, 6-3, 6-1, in the Kalamazoo, Mich., final. Svajda has played a limited junior schedule, opting instead to spend more time training and, more recently, competing on the ITF World Tennis Tour. Having played just three ITF junior events prior to last week, he reached the International Spring Championships final as a wild card in April in his previous junior appearance. He has played a more extensive schedule on the ITF WTT circuit, competing in eight 2019 events across the M25 and M15 levels.
“I just really wanted that wild card,” Svajda said of his decision to play in Kalamazoo for the first time.
He defeated top seed and 2018 finalist Brandon Nakashima, 6-4, 4-6, 6-2, in the semis as he found his groove on the hard courts.
“I played really well [in the semis] and it gave me a lot of confidence for the final,” he said, acknowledging that he was not in top form in the early rounds (despite winning his first five matches in straight sets).
Svajda trains at the USTA National Campus in Orlando, Fla., and has had the opportunity to hit with top American pros like Taylor Fritz and Bjorn Fratangelo. At this spring’s Indian Wells, he traded ground strokes with Roger Federer, Dominic Thiem and Alex Zverev.
Third place in the girls' and boys' singles events went to Hailey Baptiste and Nakashima, respectively.
Both the boys’ and girls’ 18s doubles champions were also rewarded with US Open wild cards. In the boys’ tourney, top seeds Toby Kodat and Martin Damm defeated the No. 3-seeded duo of Nakashima and Nanda, 6-3, 6-4, for the title. Alexa Noel and Abigail Forbes won the girls’ title, topping Gabriella Price and Katrina Scott, 7-5, 6-1, in the final.
For full 18s tournament results, draws and more, visit the official sites for the USTA Billie Jean King Girls’ National Championships and the USTA Boys’ National Championships.
Championship results for the 16s competitions are below:
Girls’ 16s singles final: No. 14 Reese Brantmeier def. No. 1 Valencia Xu, 6-2, 6-0
Girls’ 16s doubles final: No. 17 Elise Wagle/Katja Wiersholm def. Tara Malik/Nikita Vishwase, 6-3, 6-0
Boys’ 16s singles final: No. 1 Alexander Bernard def. No. 4 Aidan Mayo, 5-7, 6-2, 7-5
Boys’ 16s doubles final: No. 7 Hugo Hashimoto/Benjamin Kittay def. No. 11 Lucas Brown/Aidan Kim, 6-4, 6-3
The singles champions in the 14s and 12s divisions included:
Girls' 14 singles: Theadora Rabman
Boys' 14s singles: Cooper Williams
Girls' 12s singles: Claire An
Boys' 12s singles: Maxwell Exsted