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Championship Week
Paul Comes Back to Take Girls' 14s

Jessie Lynn Paul of Greenville, N.C., won her first super national championship last weekend, and she survived three match points in a remarkable semifinal to do it.

Girls' 14s Champion Jessie Lynn Paul
© Julie Wrege, TennisRecruiting.net
The next day, Paul defeated Lauren Goodman of Fort Wayne, Ind., 6-3, 6-2 in a final that was a one-hour, 42-minute grind of steady baseliners.

But it was Paul's victory the day before against Carolyn Xie of San Diego that was the most interesting match of USTA Girls 14 National Championships in Peachtree City, Ga.

Paul trailed Xie 7-5, 3-6, 5-2 and served at 15-40. Paul survived those match points and a third one in the next game with Xie serving at 5-3.

The match went to a tiebreaker with Paul trailing 3-1. Paul won the final six points - the last one when Xie was assessed a point penalty for throwing her racket.

"When I was down, I tried not to think about it," Paul said. "I tried to think about getting the next point. It didn't occur to me that it was ever match point. I guess I didn't realize what I was doing."

Denial worked.

At the time of the penalty against Xie, Paul was just happy and relieved to win. Later, she thought she'd rather play out match point. She said Xie took responsibility for her mistake.

"She shook my hand and was really good about that," Paul said of Xie, who was a late add to the draw and was unseeded despite her No. 5 ranking among rising eighth graders.

In the final, Paul played a player in Goodman who was similar to herself, although Goodman is a year younger and had her best tournament to date. Goodman was seeded ninth.

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Page updated on Wednesday, August 10, 2016
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