The route to crown the next USTA Girls’ 14 National Hard Court champion reached a benchmark Wednesday as the singles draw set its quarterfinal matches after a grueling morning of competition.
The top three seeds were part of the group of some of the best young players in the country that advanced to the next round in the championship bracket in the weeklong tournament at the Rome Tennis Center at Berry College, while one match in the Round of 16 ended in an upset.
The quarterfinals are scheduled to begin today at 9:20 a.m. The public is invited to watch all matches in the tournament, and there is no admission.
No. 1 seeded Eleana Yu from Mason, Ohio, used a second-set turnaround Wednesday to help her escape her first marathon match of the tournament as she battled Nevena Carton of Middletown, New Jersey, for three-plus hours before pulling out the win, 3-6, 7-5, 6-0.
Carton, seeded 12th for the tournament, managed to carry the momentum from her opening set into the next and take a 5-4 lead before going to deuce in back-to-back games only to have Yu come out on top each time.
Fifth-seeded Anushka Kuhne was the other three-set winner on Wednesday in the Round of 16 as the player from Palo Alto, California, bounced back from a first-set loss to defeat Vivian Miller 3-6, 6-3, 6-2. Khune and Yu will meet in this morning’s first quarterfinal.
Tomi Main, of Seaside, California, was seeded fourth overall at the start of the tournament and had not dropped a set before Grand Rapids’ Qavia Lopez opened strong and won their match Wednesday 6-2, 6-1. Lopez is the No. 13 seed.
Jessica Lu, of Austin, Texas, was the lone unseeded player still in the championship bracket as she took on sixth-seeded Stephanie Yakoff on Wednesday and caused her opponent some trouble before the Fort Lee, New Jersey resident came back in the second set to win 6-3, 7-5.
“I became a bit nervous about closing it out and she started running up to the net more. But I moved in and pulled it out by being more aggressive and taking everything on the rise,” Yakoff said.
The 12-year-old said she was getting through the tournament, which started with nearly 200 players, by being prepared through playing in a team tournament just before the Nationals and getting in practice in the evenings at the tennis center.
“So far it’s been good,” she said. “It’s nice that there are a lot of courts, especially for practice.”
The young athlete said playing up in the 14s competition makes it easier for her to push herself as she plays best under pressure by just playing her game.
Priya Nelson from Sacramento, California, is the No. 2 seed for the tournament and got by Madison Smith on Wednesday, 6-4, 6-4. No. 3 seed Lan Mi had similar success as the Vero Beach, Florida resident won her match against Grace Levelston 6-4, 6-1.
Maddy Zampardo from Michigan and Clervie Ngounoue from Washington, D.C., each won their Round of 16 match in straight sets, with Zampardo defeating Ava Krug 6-4, 6-4, and Ngounoue getting a 6-3, 6-0 victory over Natalie Block.
The rest of the today’s quarterfinal matches are Lopez vs. Yakoff, Zampardo vs. Mi and Ngounoue vs. Nelson.