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Championship Week
Ma Makes Big Impression in Girls 16s

Connie Ma didn't have high expectations when she arrived at the USTA Girls 16 National Hardcourt Championships.

The rising freshman blue chip looked at her draw and thought her stay at Barnes Tennis Center in San Diego might be short.

Connie Ma reached the Girls 16s semifinals
courtesy, J. Fred Sidhu

But like those who underestimate Ma for her physical stature, the 5-foot-1 Northern California native proved herself wrong.

“I had to play the 10th seed in the second round and honestly I didn't expect to win,” Ma said. “I am just glad I made it past that round and got a chance to play more.”

Ma, 14, defeated No. 10 Gianna Pielet (El Paso, Texas) 6-2, 6-3 in the second round and didn't stop until reaching the semifinals.

She lost only 12 games in her first four matches and defeated three seeded players before No. 9 Angelica Blake (Boca Raton, Fla.) defeated Ma 6-2, 6-3 in Friday's semifinals. Ma quickly rebounded to capture the bronze ball with a 6-3, 6-2 win over No. 4 Sedona Gallagher (Henderson, Nev.) on Saturday.

Ma had practical and aspirational reasons for playing in the 16s in San Diego instead of the 14s in Rome, Ga.

“Honestly the 16s was closer to home and I thought it would be better for me just to experience how much better these players play and try to have great matches against them,” Ma said.

At nearly every tournament she plays, Ma stands out for her size and ability to hold her own against bigger power players.

“I try not to let that get in my way,” Ma said. “I just play my game against opponents and try to be more competitive and more focused.”

Connie Ma is a rising freshman blue chip
courtesy, J. Fred Sidhu

Asked how she began playing tennis, Ma replied: “I am not really sure. I started out playing four sports and tennis was one of them. I think it was just the sport I was best at, so I stuck with it.”

After finishing her match Saturday, Ma prepared to make the long drive home with her parents. She starts her freshman year of high school on Monday at Dublin High.

Although her success in San Diego may be an interesting “how I spent my summer topic,” Ma doesn't think it would resonate in her social circle.

“I am not sure my friends will really understand,” she said.


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About Rhiannon Potkey

Rhiannon Potkey is a veteran sportswriter with more than two decades of experience in journalism. Potkey has covered many sports at many levels and has a passion for finding great stories. Potkey has covered the U.S. Open, junior sectional and national events, college conference championships and Davis Cup matches. Potkey is currently Content Strategist for Tennis Recruiting.
Page updated on Wednesday, August 16, 2017
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