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Championship Week
Puerto Rico's Perez Nets Two Gold Balls
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ALPHARETTA, Ga. - In a battle of two rising seventh-graders and doubles partners, Puerto Rico's Natalia Perez outlasted Brooklyn Olson of Mission Hills, Kansas to claim the USTA Girls 12s National Hard Court Championships, 1-6, 6-4, 6-3 at the Windward Lake Club.

Girls 12s Singles Champion Natalia Perez
© Rick Limpert

Perez, the No. 4 seed, dropped only one set in taking the title over Olson.

Both players cruised through their semifinal matches on Friday, each just lasting over an hour. But that would change in the finals as Perez and Olson, who won the doubles title on Friday, would end up battling for almost three hours on Saturday in the Georgia heat.

Olson jumped out to a 5-0 lead in 25 minutes to start the match. Cross-court backhand exchanges would be frequent, but Olson would find the right moment to pop a backhand down the line for a winner to frustrate Perez, from Guaynabo, Puerto Rico. Perez started showing signs of life late in the opening set to win a game, before Olson served out the set after a game that went to three deuce points.

Perez opened the second set with a hold and a newfound confidence that would carry through the next four games, staying on serve to reach 3-2.

"I started off the match not being very consistent, but then it changed," Perez said. "I was able get back in the match as she started being less aggressive."

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