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Tournament Feature
Winter Nationals Lives Up to Its Name

On New Year's Day in Arizona you expect chilly mornings and 60-degree days. But no one expected rain and snow to disrupt two days of play at the USTA Winter Nationals early in both Phoenix and Tucson. With only 7" of rainfall due in an entire year, the almost inch of precipitation was unforeseen. But both tournaments recovered with hard work from the directors and players, and eight USTA gold balls were awarded to the singles winners - and eight new doubles champions were also crowned.

 

Girls' 18s

Girls' 18s Champion Emily Gelber
© Doug Wrege, TennisRecruiting.net
Several unseeded players had great runs in these championships. But noone did better than freshman Blue Chip Emily Gelber (Scarsdale, NY). Gelber did not lose a set en route to winning the 18s championship at the Scottsdale Ranch Park near Phoenix on New Year's Day.

"A week ago I did not know if I would get to play in the Winter Nationals, but then I was awarded a wild card from the USTA," said Gelber.

Her win in the finals was the fourth over a seeded player - seventh seed Lauren Embree (Marco Island, FL).

In describing the 6-3, 6-4 championship match, 14-year-old Gelber said, "She was really steady and did not give me anything for free. I had to hit a lot of balls. I had to be patient and waited until I got the opening so I could use my forehand to end the points."

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