Top Seed Sophie Woorons-Johnston Captures USTA National 40 Hard Court Championships

Sophie Woorons-Johnston1

(December 7, 2013) La Jolla, Calif. – Top-seeded Sophie Woorons-Johnston of Anderson, S.C., playing in the USTA National 40 Hard Court Championships for the first time, defeated fourth-seeded Ros Nideffer of San Diego, 6-3, 6-1, to capture the women’s singles title.

On a cold and cloudy day at the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club, the 40-year-old Woorons-Johnston struggled to overcome pre-match nerves and fell behind Nideffer 3-0 in the first set. Play was then suspended when a light rain began to fall. Following a 20-minute delay, play resumed.

Woorons-Johnston, a former National 35s champion, spent the rain-delay reading a book on parenting and came back on the court relaxed and determined to get back in the match. The top-seed did just that as she took control and won six consecutive games to win the first set.

In the second set, Woorons-Johnston, who represented the United States at the ITF Senior World Championships in Turkey this year, dropped only four points in the first three games to take a commanding 3-0 lead.

The 53-year-old Nideffer, a former touring professional who was ranked as high as 15 in the world, won her lone game of the second set as she held serve in the fourth game after falling behind 0-40.

With a 3-1 second-set lead, Woorons-Johnston continued her solid play and went on to win 13 of the last 16 points to win the championship and a USTA gold ball.

Woorons-Johnston said she may have been thinking too much about her strategy on the court early in the first set and it might have upset her rhythm. After the rain-delay, she concentrated more on her game plan and turning the match in her favor.

“The idea is, try to impose my game over hers because she has such a beautiful game. If I let her dictate, I’m going to be in big trouble. I had to make sure I stepped up to the plate,” she said.

Following her victory, the new National 40 singles champion spoke about Nideffer. “It’s an honor to play against her. I have a lot of respect for her. I’m a big fan. She very friendly off the court and she’s a classy person. It’s nice to be in contact with people that are a good representative of the sport,” she said.

Woorons-Johnston, a former All-American at Clemson University, made her debut this week at the USTA National 40 Hard Court Championships at the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club. “The club is magnificent and the organization is incredible,” she said. “It was just an overall fantastic experience. I had never been to San Diego. I’m glad I came.”

There will be a new USTA National 40 Hard Court men’s champion this year as top-seed and two-time defending champion Oren Motevassel of San Jose, Calif., fell to fourth-seeded Tony Bujan of San Clemente, Calif., 6-3, 7-3 in a semi-final match.

In the second men’s semifinal, fifth-seeded Michael Chang of Anaheim, Calif. defeated second-seeded Julien Heine of Laguna Beach, Calif., 6-3, 6-2 to advance to the final.

The men’s singles championship between Bujan and Chang will be played on Sunday at 10:30 a.m. (PST).

For complete tournament draws and results, please go to: http://tennislink.usta.com/Tournaments/TournamentHome/Tournament.aspx?T=125262

USTA National 40 Hard Court Championships

La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club

La Jolla, Calif.

Saturday’s Results


Women’s Singles


Sophie Woorons-Johnston (1), Anderson, S.C., def. Ros Nideffer (4) San Diego, 6-3, 6-1



Jennifer Dawson (3), Carlsbad, Calif., def.  Dina McBride (2), Valencia, Calif., 6-2, 6-0



Men’s Singles


Tony Bujan (4), San Clemente, Calif. def. Oren Motevassel (1), San Jose, Calif., 6-3, 7-5


Michael Chang (5), Anaheim, Calif., def. Julien Heine (2), Laguna Beach, Calif., 6-3, 6-2