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Phoenix area juniors fare well at USTA Southwest Closed

June 19, 2009 06:51 PM

USTA Southwest Junior Closed
Albuquerque, N.M. - Various Sites
June 13-16, 2009

Draws Competitors

Caroline Amos (Tucson) was one of 345 players in Albuquerque June 13-16 for the USTA Southwest Closed. Amos made the final in both Girls 12s singles and doubles.

Three hundred and forty five of the best juniors in USTA Southwest converged upon Albuquerque, N.M., June 13-16 for the Section's most prestigious tournament, the Southwest Junior Closed.

The tournament annually brings together the Southwest's premier junior players to crown true section champions in 25 separate divisions in singles and doubles (GOLD - Boys and Girls 10s, Boys and Girls 12s, Boys and Girls 14s, Boys and Girls 16s, Boys and Girls 18s singles and doubles. SILVER Boys 14s, 16s and 18's singles and SILVER Girls 14s and 16s singles). The Southwest Junior closed is a Level 3 national event, on par with some of the country's elite national events like the Copper Bowl and various other events, and is the Section's highest point producer for ranking purposes.

Four days of intense matchplay at sites across the city of Albuquerque whittled the fields down to the last competitors standing, with the 2009 tournament's big winners being Andy Nguyen (Phoenix), Robert Seby (Oro Valley, Ariz.), Zaina Sufi (Tucson, Ariz.), Hailey Rochin (Tucson, Ariz.) and Whitney Goett (Paradise Valley, Ariz.). Each of those players collected both the singles and doubles crowns in their respective age divisions.

Andy Nguyen

In Boys' 18s, Nguyen closed out his USTA Southwest junior career in grand style, beating Garret Dunn (Tempe, Ariz.) in the singles final, 6-3, 6-2 for his second straight 18's singles Closed championship. It was also a stellar spring for Nguyen. He has posted a 31-2 record since the start of the year in singles and doubles events.

It was also the sendoff tournament for Dunn, who had a strong spring himself, going 29-4 in those same events. Nguyen and Dunn paired up for the doubles title at the Southwest Junior Closed, beating the brothers Bermudez (Carlos and Dominic) in the final, 8-1. Nguyen plans to attend Harvard and Dunn plans to attend University of Iowa this fall.

In Girls' 18s, top-seeded Kelsey Lawson ran roughshod over the field, losing just 13 games in eight sets, including a 6-3, 6-1 finals victory over No. 2 seeded Haley Driver (Scottsdale, Ariz.).  In doubles, the fourth-seeded pair of Emily Harris and Erica Medlin downed second-seeded Driver and Michaela Oldani.

Zaina Sufi
In Boys' 16s, top-seeded Nicolas Montoya (Scottsdale) outlasted second-seeded Alex Lawson (Tempe) in a three-set final, winning 4-6, 6-2, 6-4. The two also teamed up to reach the 16's doubles finals, before falling to the unseeded pair of Augustus Ge (Phoenix) and Jacob Heddering (Cave Creek, Ariz.) 8-6.

In Girls' 16s, the top-seeded Sufi cruised through four rounds of play without the loss of a set, including a 6-2, 6-4 victory over hometown girl Gabrielle Otero 6-2, 6-4 in the final. Sufi added the doubles title, partnering with fellow Tucson native Courtney Amos to defeat the Albuquerque duo of Susan Baklini and Susanna Kuuttila 8-1 in the final.

In Boys' 14s, second-seeded Seby took out top-seeded Ge by a 6-1, 6-4 score. Seby, who played up an age divison at the Closed, also picked up some doubles hardware, pairing with Jared Aldor (Tucson) to win the 14's doubles championship over the El Paso brother tandem of Alejandro and Emanuel Llamas. The victory was Aldor's fifth straight Closed doubles victory since the 10's, and with four different partners.  

In Girls' 14s, top-seeded Hailey Rochin (Tucson) endured a tough battle from third-seeded Madison Clarke (Phoenix), but prevailed in three tough sets, winning 6-3, 6-7 (1), 6-3. Rochin hauled in the doubles crown for good measure, teaming up with Aleeza Kanner (Phoenix) to down Clarke and partner Katrina Domingo (Tucson) 8-4.

Seby (Far left) and Rochin (top right) both 'doubled' up in 14s, while Llamas was a match away from the double double, winning the 12s singles and losing the 14s doubles final.

In Boys' 12s, top-seeded Emanuel Llamas downed second-seeded Nathan Ponwith (Scottsdale) 6-4, 6-4. Ponwith did pick up the doubles crown, pairing with Warren Fulgenzi, Jr. (Las Vegas, N.M.). The Ponwith-Fulgenzi pair defeated the second-seeded team of Michael Lee and Yash Parikh, both from Tucson,  8-5 in the final.

In Girls' 12s, top-seeded Alexandra Letzt (Scottsdale) lost just two games total in eight sets, those coming in the final in a 6-1, 6-1 victory over Caroline Amos (Tucson). Letzt and Nguyen were the only two players to repeat singles victories the same age divisions. In the 12's doubles final, Paris Corley (Grants, N.M.) and Brooke Goett (Paradise Valley) took out Amos and Melissa Pick (Albuquerque) by an 8-5 score.

Phoenix's Goett double dipped as well, winning the Girls 10's singles and doubles.

In Boys' 10s, third-seeded Roman Shenkiryk (Phoenix)  upended No. 2 seed Brandon Stringfellow (Scottsdale) 6-0, 6-2. Shenkiryk also took out top-seeded Austin Azar (Tucson) in the semifinals. Azar and Stringfellow did manage to earn the doubles title with an 8-1 decision over David Atkin (Albuquerque) and Max Woodhead (Litchfield Park, Ariz.) in the final.

In Girls' 10s, top-seeded Whitney Goett breezed through three matches without losing a set, including her final-round 6-3, 6-2 victory over Shailla Alda (Phoenix). Goett and Alda joined forces for doubles, and prevailed over the top-seeded duo of Josie Frazier (Phoenix) and Zoey Nelson (Waddel, Ariz.) 8-4.

Winners of the Boys and Girls 12 and 14-year old divisions in singles qualify for the Nike Junior Tour USA Masters event held Sept. 18-19 in Palo Alto, Calif., at Stanford University. The USTA Southwest Closed also helps determine final point standings for players to qualify for USTA Southwest travel teams (Jr. Davis Cup, Jr. Fed Cup and Zonals) later the summer.

This year's USTA Southwest Closed tournament was held at four separate playing sites in Albuquerque, Tanoan Country Club, Albuquerque Academy, Jerry Cline Park, and the Tennis Club of Albuquerque. A special thanks goes to those sites for allowing us the use of their facilities for this massive junior event.


A special thanks also goes out to each of the tournament volunteers who helped out at each of the sites, squeegee the courts during rain delays. A special thanks also goes out to the officials who endured long days on court in the sun.

This year's tournament host hotel was the Albuquerque Marriott. The hotel also played served as the site for the Southwest Closed Player Party, a massive barbeque dinner held poolside with games and prizes, karaoke, and a rock wall for kids to climb on, held on the first night of the event, June 13. A special thanks to the hotel for accommodating the Player Party. 
Congratulations to all of our new Section junior champions! 

2009 USTA Southwest Junior Closed Winners
Boys 18 Singles - Andy Nguyen
Boys 16 Singles - Nicolas Montoya
Boys 14 Singles - Robert Seby 
Boys 12 Singles - Emanuel Llamas 
Boys 10 Singles - Roman Shenkiryk 

Boys 18 Doubles - Andy Nguyen/Garret Dunn 
Boys 16 Doubles - Augustus Ge/Jacob Hedderig 
Boys 14 Doubles - Seby/Jared Aldor 
Boys 12 Doubles - Nathan Ponwith/Warren Fulgenzi 
Boys 10 Doubles - Austin Azar/Brandon Stringfellow

Girls 18 Singles - Kelsey Lawson 
Girls 16 Singles - Zaina Sufi
Girls 14 Singles - Hailey Rochin 
Girls 12 Singles - Alexandra Letzt 
Girls 10 Singles - Whitney Goett 

Girls 18 Doubles - Emily Harris/Erica Medlin 
Girls 16 Doubles - Courtney Amos/Zaina Sufi 
Girls 14 Doubles - Aleeza Kanner/Hailey Rochin 
Girls 12 Doubles - Paris Corley/Brooke Goett 
Girls 10 Doubles - Shailla Alda/Whitney Goett

Boys 14 Singles - Amadeo Lopez (Las Vegas, N.M.)
Boys 16 Singles - Luis Salazar (El Paso, Texas)
Boys 18 Singles - Agustin Garcia (El Paso, Texas)

Girls 14 Singles - Paloma Gomez (Santa Fe, N.M.)
Girls 16 Singles - Tori Merrion (Farmington, N.M.)

The Nike Junior Tour (NJT)
NIke Junior Tour is a worldwide series of junior singles tournaments for Boys and Girls in the 12 and 14 age groups. There are currently 28 countries participating in the NJT, representing over 60,000 players. Former NJT International Masters participants include Rafael Nadal,  Juan Martin Del Potro and Thomas Berdych.  The winner(s) of the Southwest Jr. Closed event will be invited to compete at the NJT USA National Masters, September 18-20, 2009 at Stanford University CA. The NJT USA National Masters is a Level II USTA National event. 
Nike provides round trip transportation, food and lodging for the winner(s) (B14, B12, G14, G12) plus one team coach.  The NJT USA National Masters winners advance to play in the NJT International Masters in October in the Dominican Republic.  Expenses for the International Masters are paid for by Nike.
AGE ELIGIBILITY: NJT USA play leads to the NJT International Masters where 28 countries participate. Therefore, to be eligible for the NJT USA National Masters and the NJT International Masters, players must meet the ITF (International Tennis Federation) age eligibility cutoff date of December 31st. Example: If you are currently 12, but will turn 13 on or before December 31, 2009, you may play in the Section Championship in the 12's but WOULD NOT BE ELIGIBLE to compete in the 12's at the NJT National Masters at Stanford or the International Masters.  Players should consider the ITF age eligibility to determine which age group to enter if they want to be eligible to go on to the NJT USA National Masters or International Masters.