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Clay Court Championship Week
Fratangelo Returns to Winners' Circle in 18s
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The USTA National Boys' 18 Clay Court Championships have a lot more at stake than a Gold Ball. The winner receives a qualifying wildcard into the ATP World Tour event in February, also held at the Delray Beach Tennis Center. In addition, the champion receives direct entry into the U.S. Open Junior Championship main draw - as well as a wildcard into a USTA Pro Circuit Futures event.

Boys' 18s Champion Bjorn Fratangelo
© Marcia Frost, College And Junior Tennis
With all the perks of a win at the Boys' 18s on the line, to say the competition was fierce would be an understatement. By the round of 16, less than half the remaining players were seeds. One of those players causing upsets was Alexios Halebian. The unseeded 16 year old made his way all the way to the finals. Along the way he upset No. 7 Shane Vinsant, No. 4 Gonzales Austin and Winston Lin, alphabetically seeded 17-32. The Californian also did not lose a set the entire event, making him a hot prospect for the college coaches surrounding his matches.

The rise through the draw in Delray Beach of Alexios Halebian was not a complete shock. He was unseeded in this tournament only because of his lack of a high 18s ranking. Halebian is in the top ten of the 16s, where he was the winner at the last Orange Bowl and a finalist at November's Eddie Herr International Championships. And he was ready for a final of this calibre.

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