Davis Gains Stature in New York
by Colette Lewis
, 8 October 2009
It would be a stretch to claim Lauren Davis is under the radar. After all, the Gates Mills, Ohio resident is a two-time USTA National girls 16 champion and the Tennis Recruiting Network's top-rated recruit in the class of 2012, a position she's held since March.
One of the reasons she opted to defend her 16s title in San Diego however, was a desire to return to the biggest stage in U.S. tennis - Flushing Meadows, New York. Having played only three ITF junior events in her tennis career, Davis needed the US Open Junior wild card given to the 16s champion, and once she secured it, without dropping a set in her seven victories, she was ready for her second chance in New York.
"Last year I was really nervous," said Davis, who lost to Ajla Tomljanovic of Croatia in the first round in 2008. "This year I just tried to not to think about my nerves. I knew I belonged with these girls."
It didn't take 2009 International Grass Court champion Davis, who turns 16 Friday, much time to establish that.
In her first round match against Irina Khromacheva of Russia, ranked in the Top 30 by the International Tennis Federation, Davis claimed a straight-set victory. In the second round, she lost the first set 6-1 to the ITF's third-ranked junior, Timea Babos of Hungary, but roared back to claim a 1-6, 7-6(3), 6-4 win.
"In the second set I was down 5-3, and I just told myself to believe I could win," said the 5-foot-2 Davis, who understandably looks to Melanie Oudin for inspiration. "I just know I can hit with those girls, even though I'm smaller."