By Sally Milano, USTA.com
The US Open is right around the corner, and two top American juniors can book their tickets to New York after earning wild cards into the 2014 US Open Junior Championships with their wins last week at the USTA Boys’ and Girls’ 18s National Clay Court Championships.
Tommy Paul, a 17-year-old from Coconut Creek, Fla., and Katerina Stewart, a 17-year-old from Miami, captured the singles titles at the National Clay Courts. With the victories, Paul and Stewart earned wild cards into the year's final junior Grand Slam in Flushing, N.Y.
Paul, who won the USTA Boys’ 16s clay court and hard court national titles last year, notched a 7-6 (5), 6-1 victory over 16-year-old Reilly Opelka of Palm Coast, Fla. – his roommate at the USTA Training Center Headquarters in Boca Raton, Fla. – in this year’s 18s final, which took place at the Delray Beach Tennis Center in Delray Beach, Fla. Paul also won the doubles title, teaming with William Blumberg, 16, from Greenwich, Conn., to sweep 18s crowns.
Stewart, last year’s Girls’ 16s hard-court national champion, beat No. 17 seed Kennedy Shaffer, 17, from Rossford, Ohio, 6-1, 6-3, at The Racquet Club in Memphis, Tenn., to capture the Girls’ 18s title. With the win, Stewart extended her winning streak to 34 matches at pro and junior events. She has won singles titles at three USTA Pro Circuit $10,000 clay-court events since March.
In addition to earning wild cards into the US Open junior tournament, Paul and Stewart will each receive a wild card into a future USTA Pro Circuit event.
In other National Clay Courts action, No. 1 John McNally (15, Cincinnati), who won 16s titles at the Easter Bowl and USTA International Spring Championships this year, claimed the boys’ 16s Clay Courts title, beating No. 5 Jacob Brumm (15, Rancho Santa Fe., Calif.), 6-2, 6-2, at the Delray Beach Tennis Center.
In the girls’ 16s final, No. 5 Claire Liu (14, Thousand Oaks, Calif.) beat No. 1 Ryan Peus (15, Palos Verdes Estates, Calif.), 6-1, 6-2, to win her second straight National Clay Courts title; she took the 14s championship last year.
Both Liu and McNally earn a wild card into a future USTA Pro Circuit event with their victories.
In the 14s, No. 1 Keenan Mayo (Roseville, Calif.) beat No. 12 Bradley Frye (Overland Park, Kan.), 6-3, 6-3, to win the boys’ 14s title in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., while Victoria Emma (Naples, Fla.) won the girls’ championship over No. 8 Sophia Edwards (Sarasota, Fla.), 6-2, 3-6, 6-0, in Plantation, Fla.
In the boys’ 12s title match, No. 5 Zane Khan (San Antonio) beat his twin brother, No. 11 Faris Khan (San Antonio), 1-6, 6-0, 6-0, in Winston-Salem, N.C., and No. 17 Cori Gauff (Atlanta) won the girls’ 12s title, beating No. 7 Victoria Hu (Northborough, Mass.), 6-4, 3-6, 6-2.
For complete results from all USTA National Clay Court Championships, click here.