Winter Nationals Part II - 16s and 18s
by Gregg Jones
, 5 January 2010
|Share: || || |
Three Californians and an unseeded Georgian celebrated the arrival of a new decade in style, winning USTA 16s and 18s national titles on a sun-kissed New Year's Day in Scottsdale, Arizona. Daniel Kosakowski
of Downey, California, claimed his first national title in winning the Boys 18s championship, while Girls 18s champion Ellen Tsay
of Pleasanton, California, collected her sixth gold ball. Mackenzie McDonald
of Piedmont, California, won his fourth gold ball in the Boys 16s final. Rounding out the roster of winners was unseeded Kourtney Keegan
of Roswell, Georgia, who fought her way through the Girls 16s draw to notch her first national championship.
The Boys 18s final featured the second-seeded Kosakowski, a blue-chip recruit who has committed to play for UCLA, against No. 23 Billy Pecor, a Notre Dame recruit based in nearby Scottsdale. Both players have similar styles, relying on big serves and aggressive forehands from the backcourt. A former high school wide receiver, Kosakowski complements his big strokes with exceptional speed.
Confronted by a hard-hitting opponent backed by a partisan home crowd, Kosakowski quickly found himself down 1-0 and facing two break points on his serve.
"The crowd was overwhelmingly pulling for him, clapping and cheering," said Kosakowski. "It kind of motivated me. I was getting pumped up."
As he would throughout the match, Kosakowski found big first serves when he needed them and managed to fight off the break points and claim the game.
His nerves steadied, Kosakowski settled into the match. When Pecor began to miss with his big groundstrokes, Kosakowski began to pull away. Pecor had a chance to mount a comeback late in the set, going up love-40 on Kosakowski's serve. But once again, the Californian found the range and claimed the set 6-2.