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.
Seeding held true in the third place match, too, as No. 3 Robert Baylon
of Buena Park, California, prevailed over No. 7 Christian Alshon
of Boca Raton, Florida, 6-4,6-1.
In other playoffs, Russell Benkaim (Osprey, Florida) won the Silver draw over Jenson Brooksby (Sacramento, California), 6-1,6-0; and Blake Croyder (Marietta, Georgia) defeated Arnav Dhingra (Darnestown, Maryland) in the Gold draw, 6-4,6-3.
The compass draw also kept the singles matches going for players who had bowed out early in the main draw. Not all of the final matches were played, but Carson Haskins (Ballwin, Missouri) took the North, Adam Neff (Bradenton, Florida) was the Northeast winner, Ryan Roegner (Asheville, North Carolina) was the South champion, Anil Chakka (Little Rock, Arkansas) won the Northwest, and Satish Kumar (Edison, New Jersey) took home the Southwest prize.
Perhaps it was the fact that the days were long, or the heat excessive, but it was unusual that none of the singles winners were also doubles winners - or even finalists.
Brandon Nakashima (San Diego, California) and Andrew Ton (Milpitas, California) took the doubles gold ball with a straight 6-2,6-3 win. The No. 7 seeds had taken out the fifth-seeded Croyder and Frye in the semifinals before beating No. 9 Campbell Erwin (Olmos Park, Texas) and Nathan Han (Tulsa Oklahoma) in that championship match.
Only two players left Fort Lauderdale with more than one trophy from the Boys' 14 Clay Court Championship. Blake Croyder and Bradley Frye, who beat unseeded Benjamin Gollin
(Redlands, California) and Jack Pulliam
(Manhattan Beach, California), 6-3,6-1, for third place in doubles, were the lone winners of multiple awards.
It was ironic that the Californians ruled a hot and muggy Florida clay court event, but you never know what will happen when two players get together on a court. Kenean Mayo was the first one at this event to prove that.
This afternoon we stay in the 14s division - we stay in Florida - and we stay with Marcia Frost. Frost wraps up the Girls' 14 division from Plantation, Fla., this afternoon at 3pm Eastern / noon Pacific. Take a look at all the great articles we have - in our coverage of Clay Court Championship Week!
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About Marcia Frost
After years of running
College And Junior Tennis
and contributing to many other tennis publications, Marcia Frost is
now freelancing full time. She writes regularly on tennis for Tennis
Frost is also a college tennis advocate and has helped organize many
college tennis showcases, where she acts as a featured speaker. She
Monthly Guides To College Tennis Planning for H.S. Juniors and Seniors
and is the author of
American Doubles... the Trials... the Triumphs... the Domination