Clay Court Championship Week
Keenan Mayo Takes Boys 14 Clay Trophy
by Marcia Frost, 23 July 2014
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It was a hot, wet and muggy week in Fort Lauderdale for the USTA National Boys 14 Clay Court Championships. It's hard to say that was really unusual, but what was rare was that there were no players in doubles and singles finals, not a lot of upsets, and a whole lot of Californians in the winners' circle.
The first few days of the tournament were plagued by rain and - even through the semifinal matches - the boys were forced to make up the time by playing into the night at the Jimmy Evert Tennis Center in Holiday Park. It had become the norm for rain to swoop in each afternoon, wrecking the tournament's schedule.
Fortunately, the final day proved to be a lucky one for not only the winners, but the hard-working staff who got their wish and were able to finally go home before sunset.
The Boys' 14s were the first of the National Clay Court Championships to finish in Florida, and Friday was the day to do it. Although it was still extremely hot in the low 90s and quite humid, the skies stayed clear long enough for all the final matches to proceed as planned.
Easter Bowl finalist Keenan Mayo of Roseville, California, lived up to his top seeding, never dropping a set in the his quest for the singles title. His opponent for the final match, Bradley Frye of Overland Park, Kansas, was just as successful in his run. In fact, the 12th seed even took out No. 4 Russell Benkaim (Osprey, Florida) in one of the straight set matches that he continued with throughout the draw.
Despite the fact that there was a clear difference in the size of Mayo as he towered over Frye, the lower seed never lacked confidence out on the court. He continued the fight when down 0-4 in the first set, taking the next game and then battling through the next one for 20 minutes before getting the score up to 4-2.
It was at that point in the match that errors from both players diminished and winners were being shot across each side of the court. Mayo finally took the set at 6-3 and began the next with a 2-0 lead, but Frye continued to swing back. He did not once let up until match point was taken against him in another 6-3 set by the stronger player.