Clay Court Championship Week
Black Wins Tiebreaker Over Shiskina in 14s Final
by Gary Curreri
, 28 July 2010
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It was fitting that a torrential rainstorm followed a temperamental tornado.
Tornado Ali Black lived up to her nickname as she saved match point in the third set and pulled out a 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (4) victory over 14th-seeded Maria Shishkina to win the USTA Girls' 14s National Clay Court Championships at the Frank Veltri Tennis Center at Plantation Central Park on Sunday.
The match was completed just seconds before a downpour and featured dramatic twists and turns, questionable line calls and banter between the two top 12-year-old players in the country. At one point during the third set the chair umpire called both players in to settle them down.
Black, a wild card entry, appeared on her way to victory after winning the first set, 6-3, and took a 4-2, 40-30 lead in the second set. Shishkina battled back to take the second set as Black left the court prior to the start of the third set in tears.
"I kind of lost it in the second set mentally," Black, who avenged a lopsided defeat to Shishkina in the 12s final of the Eddie Herr International in November. "In the finals of the Eddie Herr, I played a 4-1/2 hour match in the semifinals and found the perfect orthotics because I am flatfooted."
"In the third set, after I held off her match point, and went into the tiebreaker, I said I was going to win the Gold Ball," said Black, the number two-ranked seventh grader in the country, class of 2016 by tennisrecruiting.net. "I am very happy. I got a wild card last year into Spring Nationals and I won that too."
Black said she enjoyed being the underdog all week.
"There are a bunch of girls who were 13 and 14 and thinking this girl is younger and doesn't have a ranking," Black said. "I am going to beat her and then I would win 6-1, 6-1. I didn't think I was going to get this far. I just wanted to try my best and I was very happy. It was really cool. It was an amazing match."