Friday, January 4, 2019

NorCal juniors dominate; Brooksby routs top seed

Connie Ma, 15, of Dublin in the San Francisco Bay Area swept
the girls 18 titles in the USTA National Winter Championships
in Orlando, Fla. 2018 photo by Paul Bauman
   Juniors from Northern California, not more-heralded Florida or Southern California, dominated the singles events in past week's USTA National Winter Championships.
   Of the eight singles titles offered in Orlando, Fla., (boys and girls 18s and 16s) and Tucson, Ariz., (boys and girls 14s and 12s), NorCal players won five.
   Ishaan Ravichander (boys 18), Connie Ma (girls 18), and Luke Casper (boys 16) today joined Ria Bhakta (girls 14) and Mason Nguyen (boys 12) as champions.
   The 17th-seeded Ravichander, 16, defeated ninth-seeded Zachery Lim 7-6 (2) on a hard court at the USTA National Campus in a matchup of players from Sacramento's JMG Tennis Academy.
   Ravichander lost two sets in his seven tournament matches, including his 3-6, 7-6 (2), 6-1 victory over 17th-seeded Finn Garner of Annapolis, Md., in the fourth round.
   The fourth-seeded Ma, a 15-year-old resident of Dublin in the San Francisco Bay Area, downed third-seeded Alana Wolfberg of Orlando 6-4, 6-0.
   Ma, only 5-foot-3 (1.60 meters) and 95 pounds (43.1 kilograms), won the last nine games against the Oklahoma State signee and dropped no more than four games in a set in the tournament. She also won the doubles title with Anna Campana of Hillsborough in the Bay Area on Thursday.
   The fifth-seeded Casper, a Santa Cruz resident who turned 16 on Dec. 16, beat 13th-seeded Quinn Snyder of Delran, N.J., 7-6 (5), 6-4 on Har-Tru at the USTA National Campus.
   Casper never lost a set in the tournament, winning three tiebreakers.
   USTA Pro Circuit -- Unseeded Jenson Brooksby, an 18-year-old amateur from Carmichael in the Sacramento area, routed top-seeded Dmitry Popko, a 22-year-old Russia native who plays for Kazakhstan, 6-3, 6-0 in 68 minutes in $25,000 Los Angeles to reach the semifinals of a professional tournament for the second time.
   Popko, at No. 351, is the highest-ranked player and second consecutive top seed whom Brooksby has beaten. He also shocked 6-foot-8 (2.03-meter) Michael Redlicki of Fayetteville, Ark., en route to the semis of the $25,000 Waco (Texas) Futures in November.
   Brooksby, who plans to enroll at Baylor in Waco in the fall or next January, will meet wild card Brandon Holt, a USC junior and the son of International Tennis Hall of Famer Tracy Austin.

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