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Clay Court Championship Week
Makarome Wins USTA Boys 14 National Clay Courts
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Fifth-seeded Noah Makarome overcame heavy rain, match delays, muscle cramps and 5-1 blown leads to capture the USTA Boys 14 National Clay Court singles championship.

Boys 14s champion Noah Makarome
Makarome, from Wesley Chapel, Fla., defeated No. 6 seed Sam Riffice of Roseville, Calif., 6-0, 7-6 (7-3) on July 20 at the Jimmy Evert Tennis Center to take home the gold ball.

South Florida was deluged with flooding, and the rains came on five of the seven days of the tournament. Makarome, originally from Baltimore, experienced cramps during the semifinals and final.

In the finals match-up, Makarome led 5-1 in the second set when Riffice rallied to a take a 6-5 lead.

"My legs and arms were really tired, and I had to take a medical timeout," said Makarome, with an IMG TennisRPI of 21. "He also started playing more aggressively. I managed to close it out. I just kept telling myself positive things and tried to keep myself moving. I tried to do the best I could. I thought, right after that, I could rest and be at peace."

Makarome won his second USTA title, as he had captured the Boys 12s Winter Nationals in 2011 in a three-set win over Riffice. He is coached by his parents, James and Magdalene Makarome, who also mentor his older sister, Star. Last February, Star Makarome won the Girls 16s championship at the USTA National Open in Ridgeland, Miss.

In the semifinals at Fort Lauderdale, Makarome defeated 13th-seeded Kyrylo Tsygura of North Potomac, Md., 6-1, 6-7 (5), 10-7 (shortened because of the weather). Makarome was up 6-1 and 5-1, a similar situation to the final match. He defeated third-seeded Patrick Kypson of Greenville, N.C., 6-3, 6-0 in the quarters.

Setbacks and all, Makarome exhibited mental discipline and a determination throughout the event.

"My forehand, inside out and inside in, was the biggest thing to help me in the tournament," said Makarome, who advanced to the round of 16 at the USTA National Spring Championships. "I hit a lot of aggressive shots that way. I thought I dropped my backhand really well in this tournament, and I've never hit it better in my life. It was a big improvement and a big confidence factor. I could go for my shots freely without worrying about whether it would go in or out.

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Page updated on Sunday, November 23, 2014
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