2018 14U JTT NATIONALS TITLES
Ashley Marshall | November 5, 2018
The Lone Star State earned top bragging rights at the 2018 Junior Team Tennis National Championships this week, with two Dallas teams sweeping the honors in the 14U Advanced and Intermediate team competitions.
Dallas Select, representing the USTA Texas section, defeated fellow Texas rivals Austin Tennis Academy, 47-42, avenging a loss in their section championship, to scoop the Advanced title. Then Dallas Selects’ Intermediate team topped Advantage Indy of the USTA Midwest section, 50-37, to ensure both National Championship banners were returning to Texas.
The 2018 USTA Junior Team Tennis 14U National Championships, held at the USTA National Campus in Orlando, Fla., Nov. 2-4, brought together the top 32 teams at intermediate and advanced levels from various USTA sections throughout the country.
There was stellar play on the courts throughout the weekend, plus plenty of fun, team spirit and sportsmanship off of it.
But in the end, when it was time to hand out the silverware, one state reigned supreme.
In the Advanced division, Austin Tennis Academy (ATA) earned its bid to Nationals by virtue of defeating Dallas en route to winning the USTA Texas sectional championship earlier in the year. With ATA claiming the automatic bid, that left Dallas Select on the outside looking in until it was awarded a wild card into Nationals.
Dallas made the most of its opportunity, reaching the final with a perfect 3-0 record in pool play and winning 14 of 15 individual matches against teams from the USTA Eastern, Southern and New England sections. In topping the four-team pool, Dallas won 29 of 34 sets, progressing to the semifinals, where it earned a 51-43 semifinal win over the Atlanta Smashers from the USTA Southern section in the gold bracket.
Once in the championship match, Dallas capitalized on strong singles and doubles wins on the girls’ side and two close losses in the boys’ matches.
Dallas’ Marcela Lopez defeated Alexandra Malysheva, 6-0, 6-1, in girls’ singles to cancel out Nico Jamison’s 6-1, 6-3 victory over Esunge Ndumbe in the boys’ matchup.
Similarly in doubles, Dallas duo Sarah Allen and Morgan Pyrz topped Kendall Curley and Kerry Lum, 6-4, 6-2, erasing the gains ATA had made in Devan Sabapathy and Lawrence Li’s 6-5, 6-2 win over Herman Aguirre and Jeremy Yu.
Leading by four games heading into the final mixed doubles match, Lopez and Aguirre edged Jamison and Malysheva, 6-5, 5-6, [13-11], to claim the title.
ATA had led 5-2 in the third-set match tiebreak before Dallas saved a match point at 9-8 on the ATA serve. Dallas then saved a second match point at 10-9, while ATA saved one at 11-10. But Dallas finally closed out the championship on the second attempt, Lopez’s unreturnable wide serve to the Malysheva backhand proving the decisive moment.
In the third-place match, the Atlanta Smashers defeated SLP Yeti’s from the USTA Northern section, 51-39.
In the Intermediate division, Dallas dropped just four of 32 sets in going undefeated in its three round-robin pool matches to advance to the gold bracket. Dallas then toppled Westwood Nuclear Nine from the USTA Mid-Atlantic section in the semifinals before capturing the title against Advantage Indy in the championship match.
In the final, the Dallas team jumped out to an early lead in its championship match behind impressive wins from its girls. Chelsie Son delivered a 6-0, 6-4 win over Jamison Geoffreys, before Cody Huang and Mariansofia Aguirre powered past Isabelle May and Heidi Wendowski, 6-1, 6-2.
Dallas’ Lance Luong rallied to a 2-6, 6-3, 1-0 victory in boys’ singles against Jack Jentz, but Indy’s boys’ doubles pairing of Alexander Antonopoulos and Adrien Qi kept the match within reach, with a narrow 6-2, 6-5 win over Yuki Asako and Trooper Denson.
Jentz and Geoffreys then teamed up to defeat Dallas duo Connor Castro and Emma Allen in a third-set tiebreak, but it was not enough to stop Dallas claiming the team crown.
One Hit Wonders from the USTA Southern section defeated Westwood Nuclear Nine in the third-place match.