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Clay Court Championship Week
Zhu Takes Title at Boys' 14 Clays While Small Brings Home Three
by Marcia Frost, 25 July 2012
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Evan Zhu was the gold ball winner and star of the show at the Boys' 14 USTA National Clay Court Championship, but Johnathan Small was also front and center and he took home a trio of trophies.
The final singles match at the Jimmy Evert Tennis Center in Fort Lauderdale was a close one. Though the 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 score seemed to indicate a roller coaster of play, the entire match was fueled with competition and long points. Zhu and Small had played each other before, and neither of them was ready to give up this time. In the end, Zhu was just a bit more consistent, and it earned him the title.
Evan Zhu, who lives in Greenbelt, Md., didn't have to play any three-setters on his way to the last match. He made his way through the draw, and even his upset over second-seeded Taylor Fritz in the quarterfinals was a straight set win. Zhu had come into the tournament as the sixth-seed, so he didn't feel quite as much pressure going through the draw just three weeks before his fourteenth birthday.
While Johnathan Small was extremely disappointed that he didn't go home with any gold balls from the USTA Boys' 14 Clays, he certainly didn't leave for Midland, Mich., empty handed. His face lit up a bit after the singles final loss when he was presented with the USTA Sportsmanship Award. It's not something he hasn't seen before - Small admitted this is his eighth such honor - but it meant a lot just the same.
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