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Clay Court Championship Week
Gauff Takes First National in Girls' 12s

While the last remaining spectators were wiping sweat from their brows in the 96 degree heat, Cori Gauff was all smiles when she came off the court. Winning a gold ball in singles and a silver ball in doubles will at the Girls' 12 USTA National Clay Court Championships will usually do that for you.

Singles champion Cori Gauff
© Marcia Frost
Even though this was her first USTA National Championship, Gauff is no stranger to the winners' circle. Just before this event she took the Girls' 16s at the Vespan L7 in Boynton Beach. Last year, the then-nine-year-old beat three seeds before winning the USTA Southern Closed Girls' 12 Championships, and, in 2012, eight year old Gauff was the "Little Mo" World champion.

Gauff and her family moved from Atlanta, Georgia, to Delray Beach, Florida, last year. She says the move was so she could train at Sly Black High Performance Tennis and be closer to her cousins. The move appears to have paid off in an extremely impressive backhand for the petite player - as well as for a host of relatives there to support her matches.

Until the final singles match with Victoria Hu of Northborough, Massachusetts, 17th-seeded Gauff did not lose a set in the draw. Along the way she eliminated No. 12 Cameron Compall (Winnetka, Illinois) and No. 13 Mae Fmar Canete (Los Angeles, California) before facing top-seeded Katie Volynets (Walnut Creek, California).

While Volynets was a tough opponent, Gauff also got through that semifinal match without dropping a set at 7-5,7-5.

Waiting in the final round was Hu, the seventh-seed. She had also had a good tournament with an upset over No. 4 Imani Graham of St. Johns, Florida. Hu also made it through to the final without losing a set.

Gauff admits that Hu was her toughest match, but she says she wasn't nervous, "because I knew my dad would get me through that third set."

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Page updated on Wednesday, August 10, 2016
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