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Nationals Feature
Major Surprises at the Girls' 18 Nationals Not Likely

While there are always upsets along the way, the end is not usually far from the seeding at the USTA Girls' 18 National Championships, and this year doesn't look to be much different.

It was top-seeded Gail Brodsky who won the singles title over third-seeded CoCo Vandeweghe last year. In 2007, it was also the number one (Ashley Weinhold) who walked away with first prize, though her opponent in the final was not a high seed, but No. 16 Alison Riske. In fact, 2006, when fifth-seeded Lauren Albanese won, was the only time in the last five years that the top seed didn't prevail.

The number one seed for 2009 is Kristie Ahn, and she is a tough act for anyone to follow. Last year she came in fifth in singles and followed it up with a U.S. Open Qualifying wildcard that she took all the way through to the main, where she impressed the best on Louis Armstrong Stadium against the sixth-seeded Dinara Safina. The 17-year-old has continued to impress on the USTA Professional Circuit, winning her third title in March at the $25,000 event in Hammond, Louisiana.

Despite her success on the tour (and a current WTA ranking of 325), Kristie Ahn has remained an amateur and is considering her college options. Ahn's last major junior event was the Easter Bowl, where she lost to fellow New Jersey native Christina McHale in the semifinals. There's a lot more riding on this one, though, as the winner of the Girls' 18 Nationals gets a wildcard into the main draw of the U.S. Open.

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