Clay Court Championship Week
Paul Repeats Win at Boys 18 Clays in Delray
by Marcia Frost, 25 July 2014
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Some things at the Delray Beach Tennis Center never change - high temperatures, rain delays, and Tommy Paul winning.
"I always play really well here," said Paul at the end of the USTA Boys' 18 National Clay Court Championships. "This year I played great, last year I played great here, the year before I even played great. The last time I lost here was to Jared Donaldson in the 12 and unders!"*
In 2013, Paul defeated Reilly Opelka in the finals for the Boys' 16 National Clay Court Championship. Ironically, his friend and roommate at the USTA National Training Center in Boca Raton was his same opponent for the 2014 Boys' 18 crown.
The road to the finals for 17-year-old Paul almost ended in the round of 16, when he was pushed to three sets by No. 14 Cameron Klinger (Elk Grove, California). Paul squeezed out of that match 7-6, 4-6, 6-4 with enough left in him to then take out the top-seeded Daniel Kerznerman (Brooklyn, New York), the defending champion.
He next eliminated No. 12 Sameer Kumar of Carmel, Indiana, and Thomas Fawcett of Winnetka, Illinois (17), in straight sets to set up the final with Opelka.
Unseeded Reilly Opelka did not lose a set on his way to the championship match. Along the way, the 6'10" Floridian dismissed Eric Rutledge of Fort Worth, Texas (17), Christian Langmo of Boca Raton, Florida (7), Dennis Wang of Germantown, Maryland (17), and Alfredo Perez of Coral Gables, Florida (17).