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McNeil Outlasts the Field to Capture Girls 18s Clay Title

During his legendary playing career, John McEnroe rarely attracted notice for being calm. But at the USTA Girls 18 National Clay Court Championships, nothing fazed one of his tennis academy's top pupils.

Christasha McNeil endured a handful of long matches in mostly steamy conditions in South Carolina, then overcame fellow rising 11th-grader Claire Shao 6-4, 6-3 for the singles title at LTP-Mount Pleasant.

Singles Champion Christasha McNeil
© Contributed Photo

"I was pretty confident with myself," said McNeil, who lives in Lindenhurst on New York's Long Island. "I didn't give up; that was the key. I believed in myself all the way through."

Shao, a New Jersey native now living in Boca Raton, Florida, could tell.

"She's definitely a very tough player," Shao said. "She's very mentally calm, very emotionless on the court."

To say both finalists earned their way to the championship match is an understatement. Despite impressive credentials, both were unseeded and lacked first-round byes. Each won four three-setters, McNeil ousted six seeded players and Shao sidelined four seeds.

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Page updated on Monday, March 11, 2024
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