Juniors Shine at First USTA Collegiate Invitational for Women
by Colette Lewis
, 9 November 2012
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After he attended last year's Napa Valley Classic, Grant Chen was determined to help organize a similar event for women. Chen, then Director of Tennis at UCLA, was so impressed with the tournament, which featured eight USTA junior boys and players from six men's college teams competing in a round robin competition, he immediately began drumming up commitments from schools and sponsors.
His efforts came to fruition last weekend at the Tualatin Hills Tennis Center
in Beaverton, Oregon, where collegiate players from eight schools and eight of the top young juniors in the country participated in the USTA Collegiate Invitational, presented by Adidas.
"Coach Peter Wright (Cal-Berkeley) has done an incredible job with the Napa Valley event, and I told him imitation is the best form of flattery," said Chen, who is now the men's assistant coach at UCLA. "Some of the Bruins had participated there as juniors and some as college players, and I really wanted that to happen for the girls. I think it's terrific for everybody."
It was certainly terrific for 16-year-old Brooke Austin, a member of the USTA National Junior team, who went undefeated in the round robin portion of the competition, then captured the Adidas Shoot-out that determined the overall winner of the event.
Austin was the only USTA National Junior team member to win her round robin group, but every player on the junior team, including 12-year-old Claire Liu, claimed at least one victory during the competition, with the group fashioning a 15-8 record over the three days. In addition to Austin and Liu, the USTA team consisted of Gabby Andrews, Jennifer Brady, Caroline Doyle, Jessica Ho, Kimberly Yee and Dasha Ivanova, who grew up in the Portland area before moving to Florida to train.
The colleges sending players to the event included Georgia, UCLA, Texas A&M, Michigan, Washington, Duke, Portland and Portland State.
After the third matches of the weekend were played on Sunday morning, the eight round robin winners - UCLA's Chanelle Van Nguyen and Kyle McPhillips, Georgia's Lauren Herring and Maho Kowase, Texas A&M's Nazari Urbina, Washington's Grace Ysidora, Michigan's Brooke Bolender and Austin - faced off in 10-point match tiebreakers, with the winner receiving a Pro Circuit wild card, courtesy of the USTA.
Austin was the first player to reach the shoot-out semifinals, blowing past Bolender 10-3. There she met top seed Lauren Herring of Georgia, who had beaten Grace Ysidora of Washington 10-6 in the quarterfinals. Despite two double faults, Austin kept her ground strokes near the lines at the end of the tiebreaker, and a couple of forehand errors by Herring in the final three points gave Austin a 10-8 win.