Clay Court Championship Week
First Singles Gold Ball for Claire Liu
by Todd Holcomb, 24 July 2013
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Claire Liu gained fame nearly two years ago when she won the Junior Orange Bowl as an unseeded 11-year-old. She has continued to win big tournaments, claiming six singles titles in the past year alone. That talley includes a National Open last spring in the 16-and-under division when she was still 12.
But what Liu had never done was win a USTA Super National Championship in singles.
So the young teenager from Thousand Oaks, Calif., took care of some unfinished business last week in Plantation, Fla., with her victory in the USTA Girls 14 Super National Clay Court Championships. The victory gave Liu her first Gold Ball in singles.
Lui defeated Dominique Schaefer of Ventura, Calif., 6-4, 6-2 in the final. It was Liu's closest match, as she never dropped a set and had only one set as close as 6-4.
Liu, now 13, said that helped make up for her failing to win the USTA National Spring Championship (Easter Bowl) in April, where she was seeded No. 1 but was upset in the quarterfinals by Ryan Peus of Santa Barbara, Calif. Liu defeated Peus in the clay court semifinals last week.
"I didn't play my best at the Easter Bowl, but I learned that seeding doesn't matter," Liu said. "It just matters that you win your seven matches. If you win your seven, you win your tournament. It felt good to be seeded No. 1 again and actually win it."
The runner-up, Schaefer, was seeded only 13th but had a terrific week. She had beaten No. 4 Ellie Douglas of McKinney, Texas, 6-2, 6-0 and No. 9 Grace Joyce of Newton, Mass., 6-1, 6-1 in reaching the final.