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Tournament Feature
Shankle Takes Maureen Connolly Brinker Championship

On the eve of St. Patrick's Day, Blue Chip Blair Shankle (Comfort, Texas) held off a fierce opponent in Ellie Yates (Ridgeland, Mississippi) 7-6, 6-0 to win the Maureen Connolly Brinker Girl's 14s National Championships in Dallas.

Each competitor showed off her battery of shots on the wind-swept clay courts of TBarM Racquet Club.

Maureen Connolly Brinker Champion Blair Shankle
© Julie Wrege, TennisRecruiting.net
Shankle, 13, displayed an all-around game: serves that bit the clay dust, hard cross-court forehands and backhand deep in the corners, feathery dropshots and topspin lobs into the wind, and tightly controlled volleys.

She had a variety of shots that every aspiring tennis player should aim for and which left knowledgeable spectators in awe.

She's 7 on TennisRecruiting's leader board for the Class of 2013. As number one in her home state age division, she has compiled a 44-6 record. Ranked 14th in the 16s, her record is 31-6.

Yates, tall and lanky at 14 years old, used her height to reach up and hit a high percentage of first serves throughout the match. She was quick on her feet and finished off short balls with sharp angles away from her opponent's reach. When forced up at the net, she came up with swinging volleys that were reminiscent of Maria Sharapova.

Each player also displayed an equanimity and poise so uncharacteristic of their chronological ages.

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