San Diego, Calif. – (August 9, 2015) – For third-seeded Sofia Kenin, it was a day to remember as the 16-year-old from Pembroke Pines, Fla., battled for three hours to defeat top-seeded Tornado Alicia Black of Boca Raton, Fla., 6-2, 5-7, 7-5 and win the 18s singles title at the USTA Girls’ Nationals.
The newly-crowned champion will receive a wild card into the women’s singles main draw at the US Open, which begins Monday, Aug. 31 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y.
On a cool, overcast morning at the Barnes Tennis Center, Kenin took the first set in 47 minutes by winning five straight games after falling behind 2-1 early in the match. Kenin began using a deceptive drop shot to help set up a winning lob or passing shot against Black.
In the second set, the length of the rallies grew longer as each player waited for an opportunity to hit a winner or draw an error. At 4-4, Kenin broke serve and served for the match at 5-4, but Black came back and won 12 of the next 15 points to win the set and even the match.
After suffering an early service break in the third set, Black fell behind 2-1, but then won the next three games in a row, breaking Kenin twice, to take a 4-2 lead. The momentum swung back in Kenin’s favor as she won the next three games for a 5-4 lead over Black.
As Kenin served for the match, Black played a perfect game and broke serve at love to tie the deciding set at 5-5. In the 11th game, Kenin returned the favor and broke Black’s serve at love to move ahead 6-5.
Playing with confidence and determination in the 12th game, Kenin went on to serve out the match and win the championship.
“I’m very happy to get into the main draw at the US Open. It’s can’t get better than that,” Kenin said after her victory in the championship match. “I was just trying to be confident. I was fighting and I knew it wasn’t going to be easy.”
As the Girls’ 18s singles runner-up, Black will receive a wild card into the US Open women’s singles qualifying draw.
By Fred Sidhu