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Albo Goes Three Sets to Claim 14s Title

SAN ANTONIO - Jake Albo of Plantation, Fla., is now the proud owner of a USTA gold ball.

Boys 14 Champion Jake Albo
© Gary Bruehler
Albo, the No. 6 seed at the USTA Boys 14 National Championships, won the coveted prize with a 1-6, 6-3, 6-2 hard-fought singles victory over No. 4 Gregory Garcia of Poway, Calif., at McFarlin Tennis Center.

"I really wanted to get the gold ball," said Albo, ranked 15th by TennisRecruiting.net. "My serve and ground strokes were my meat and potatoes for the tournament. My fitness level was working well. I train in Florida and you have to have good fitness because of the heat."

The San Antonio 100-degree August heat, compounded by high humidity, did not help matters during the week-long tournament. Thankfully, for players and participants, the championship match was played at 9 a.m. Sunday.

Garcia, ranked No. 26 by TennisRecruiting.net, took a commanding 5-0 first-set lead. But Albo, a semifinalist at the USTA Clay Courts, utilized an effective mix of forehand cross courts and drop shots to even the contest at one-set-all. The final set was tied at 2-2, but Garcia was broken and Albo held to lead 4-2. Albo pulled out his pin-point drop shots to break Garcia and widen the lead to 5-2.

"I just lost my energy in the second set," said Garcia. "I think I played well the whole tournament. My serve was accurate and I hit it pretty hard."

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