Top tennis, perfect weather mix well on Day 1 in Berkeley

March 10, 2009 03:45 PM

BERKELEY, Calif. -- The weather was picture-perfect on the first day of matches for the USTA Girls’ 18 National Championships held at the Berkeley Tennis Club and the Claremont Resort & Spa.

Without seeds playing, there wasn’t any chance of upsets, but spectators were treated to some great matches. There were six matches among the 64 that went to three-setters on Sunday. Among them, coaches were talking about Samantha Critser’s (Mountain View, CA) comeback third-set win over Katherine White (Columbus, GA) for a 6-0, 4-6, 6-4 win. The longest match of the day, though, belonged to Katherine Flanigan (Davis, CA) and Sarah Lee (Los Angeles, CA), with Lee pulling it out, 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (4).

It may not have gone the distance, but there was a crowd to watch Kelly Chiu (Milpitas,CA), who is coached by Tournament Chairwoman Lynne Rolley. She put up a great effort at her home club; still, she couldn’t get past the hard-hitting Nicole Melichar (Stuart, FL) and fell, 6-4, 6-3.

Fourteen-year-old Blair Shankle (Comfort, TX), who is the only player to have ever won the Maureen Connolly Brinker Foundation’s “Little Mo” Championships four years in a row, advanced past Casey Robinson (Radnor, PA), 6-3, 6-1. Coach Emily Foster said she gave Blair the choice of the age group she wanted to play because “it’s about the learning curve,” and Blair picked the oldest division. Both were satisfied with the decision after today’s match.

Tournament wild-cards Shelby Rogers (Daniel Island, SC), Emily Gelber (Scarsdale, NY) and Stephanie Vidov (West Palm Beach, FL) advanced in their matches, with Rogers defeating Erin Snook (Tampa, FL), 6-1, 6-2; Gelber beating Kim Szokol (Winnetka, IL), 6-1, 6-3; and Vidov prevailing over Jessica Wacnik (Orland Park, IL), 6-3, 6-0.

The first round of doubles was completed before dark, with the seeds in that event also getting a rest.

Visit the tournament’s official site at for stories, photos and schedules. Also look for the USTA Girls' 18 National Championships on Facebook and updates on Twitter through MarciaLF24.

Click on the links below for complete results and draws from all USTA National Championship tournaments:

Boys' 16s, 18s - Kalamazoo, Mich.

Boys' 14s - San Antonio, Texas

Boys' 12s - N. Little Rock, Ark.

Girls' 18s - Berkeley, Calif.

Girls' 16s - San Diego

Girls' 14s - Peachtree City, Ga.

Girls' 12s - Alpharetta, Ga.