Huang, Failla win USTA National Winter Championships

January 4, 2016 01:17 PM

By Sally Milano,

Sixteen-year-old Austen Huang of Elk Grove, Calif., and 18-year-old Jessica Failla of Ramona, Calif., won the USTA National Winter Championships Boys’ and Girls’ 18s singles titles last week in Scottsdale, Ariz. With their victories, the two top juniors each earned wild cards into future USTA Pro Circuit events.

Huang (pictured above), who is rated No. 4 in December’s USTA Boys’ 16s national rankings and is the No. 14 recruit in's Class of 2017, beat top seed and defending champion William Genesen of Tulsa, Okla., in the final, 6-3, 0-6, 6-1. Failla, who is in her freshman season at USC, beat 12th-seeded Alyvia Jones, a 15-year-old from Midland, Mich., 6-3, 6-1.

The Winter National Championships consisted of 128 singles players and 64 doubles teams in the 18s, 16s, 14s and 12s age divisions. The 16s and 18s divisions were played on outdoor hard courts at Scottsdale Ranch Park, while the 12s and 14s took place at the Reffkin Tennis Center in Tucson, Ariz.

Top-seeded Sara Choy and No. 6 seed Christian Alshon won the Girls’ and Boys’ 16s singles titles, respectively. Choy, a high school sophomore from Palo Alto, Calif., beat San Diego's Hannah Zhao, 6-4, 6-4, while Alshon, from Boca Raton, Fla., defeated top-seeded Carson Haskins of Ballwin, Mo., 6-4, 4-6, 7-5.

A pair of sisters from Los Angeles swept the Girls’ 14s and 12s singles titles. Mae Canete won the Girls’ 14s, defeating Gabriella Price of Montebello, N.Y., 6-1, 6-4, while Christine Canete swept the Girls’ 12s singles and doubles titles, beating her doubles partner – Katrina Scott of Woodland Hills., Calif. – in the singles final, 6-2, 6-2.  

Ryder Jackson of Irvine, Calif., toppled Stefan Leustian of Mather, Calif., 7-5, 3-6, 6-2, to win the Boys’ 14s singles title, while Robert Cash and Joel Jose, both from New Albany, Ohio, defeated James and Thomas Yu of Bellevue, Wash., 6-4, 6-4, to capture the boys' 14s championship. Nishesh Basavareddy of Carmel, Ind., won the Boys’ 12s singles championship by beating Samuel Landau of Los Angeles, 6-7 (1), 6-1, 6-2. Laundau won the Boys’ 12s doubles title with Texan Andrew Chang.

Each year, more than 120,000 players compete in USTA junior tournaments. Players compete in levels of competition through earned advancement in the 10s, 12s, 14s, 16s and 18s age divisions. USTA junior tournaments help kids take their game as far as they want – high school, college or pros – or allow them to just have fun competing.

The complete draws are available here: 16s and 18s; 12s and 14s.