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Championship Week
Victor Lilov Strikes Gold Twice in Boys 12s
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Victor Lilov, displaying the precocious abilities to analyze an ongoing match calmly and to make the appropriate adjustments, defeated a relentless 17th seed Braden Shick 6-4, 6-1, to win the singles crown at the rain-soaked Boys 12s National Hardcourt Championships in Arkansas.

Singles champion Victor Lilov
The 12-year-old champion from Raleigh, North Carolina, controlled nerves and used his mental acuity to regroup as he fell behind in the first set of the finals.

He reminded himself be true to his game plan, which is to be "super aggressive" and channel his energy into offensive play, including frequent forays to the net.

Finalist Shick, another North Carolinian from Greensboro, proved to be a tough opponent. Shick took advantage of the early exit of the top seed on his side of the draw, and prevailed over the 6th, 14th and fellow 17th seeds.

Shick, a rising seventh grader and blue-chip recruit, finished a 12s career by bagging a silver in singles and a bronze in doubles.

"I played really, really well, but just made a few more errors in the second set," the runner-up reflected. "But Victor played really well, too."

Lilov, a five-foot-five blue chip, carried out an aggressive plan of attacking short balls and deftly positioning himself at the net to finish off points. He also hit searing backhands and forehands to elicit those short returns that he could then attack.

But the match didn't start out the way he had planned when he fell behind 3-1, love-30.

"I was really nervous," Lilov said. "Braden was playing really well. I told myself to loosen up - that he's playing better, so do something - play a little more aggressive. Then I got a little lucky because he missed a few close shots."

The finalists adjusted to indoor court conditions, sacrificing the absence of wind and sun for much faster courts.

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Page updated on Monday, March 11, 2019
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