Juniors Claim 2021 New England Sectional Championships
WESTBOROUGH, MA - Following a year off from New England Summer Junior Sectionals due the pandemic, 256 of New England’s best juniors competed in this year’s event from June 19-22 at four sites throughout Massachusetts.
USTA New England’s most prestigious junior tournament of the year was broken up by age division: The 18s were played at Forest Park in Springfield, the 16s were hosted by Longfellow Wayland and were played at Brandeis University and Regis College, the 14s were played at the Manchester Athletic Club and the 12s were played at Sportsmen’s Tennis & Enrichment Center.
Winners are listed below:
Girls’ 18s - Ava Esposito, Branford, CT
The No. 5-seeded 15-year-old Ava Esposito defeated No. 6 Olivia Almy in Tuesday’s final, 7-6(2), 6-3. The Branford, CT resident needed three sets in both her quarterfinal and semifinal rounds, as she defeated No. 4 Sophie Diop, 6-3, 6-7(5), 6-3 and No. 7 Anna Nguyen, 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 respectively. This is Esposito’s second New England Sectional Championship - she won the Girls’ 12s title in 2018.
Boys’ 18s - Alex Finelstein, Raynham, MA
Alex Finkelstein is off to Columbia University in the fall, but before he begins his NCAA career, he dethroned top seed and 2019 Boys’ 16s Sectionals Champion, Alexander Visser. The straight-set finals victory was on par for Finkelstein, who failed to drop a set all tournament.
Girls’ 16s - Mariana Shulman, Woburn, MA
The 2021 Girls’ 16s final was a rematch of the 2019 14s championship, which featured Mariana Shulman and Oziera Ahmad. In 2019, Ahmad got the better of Shulman in straight sets, but this year the tables were turned. No. 4 Shulman defeated top-seeded Ahmad, 6-0, 6-2 to claim her first Sectionals title.
Boys’ 16s - Coleman Merce, Westport, CT
Unseeded Coleman Merce is this year’s Boys’ 16s Champion. Merce’s draw opened up big time when top seed and potential second-round opponent, Bobby Cooper, pulled out minutes before his first match due to injury. Merce took full advantage and defeated Joel McCandless, George cutone and Lochlan Seth before getting the better of Alek Karagozyan in the finals.
Girls’ 14s - Georgia Kulevich, Marblehead, MA
Georgia Kulevich capped off her impressive run through the Girls’ 14s bracket by knocking off top seeded Karolina Lincer, 6-1, 6-2 in the finals. The No. 2 seeded Kulevich dominated the field, winning her previous matches by scores of 6-0, 6-0; 6-1, 6-0; 7-5, 6-1; and 6-1, 6-1.
Boys’ 14s - Troy Kudrjavtsev, Westport, CT
Troy Kudrjavtsev also knocked out the No. 1 seed in the Boys’ 14s division to claim his first Sectionals title. No 2 seeded Kudrjavtsev didn’t face a seeded opponent until the finals, where he defeated Lukas Phimvongsa, 4-6, 6-0, 6-3.
Girls’ 12s - Nancy Lee, Belmont, MA
Top-seeded Nancy Lee rolled through the Girls’ 12s draw. She dropped just six games over her first three matches and defeated Camilla Castracani in the semis before taking down No. 2 seeded Elana Zaretsky in the championship.
Boys’ 12s - Marti Sarquella, Acton, MA
No. 4 seed Marti Sarquella powered past No. 2 Macksimus Malhotra in the semis and No. 3 Tanner Oberg in the finals to claim the Boys’ 12s championship. Sarquella did not drop a set all tournament.
For full draws and additional Sectionals coverage, see links below:
Day 4 winner photos (all ages)
Day 4 photos (all ages)
Day 3 photos (16s)
Day 2 photos (18s)
Day 1 photos (16s)