• Division Winners Crowned at the 2011 USTA Florida Jr. State Closed Singles Championships

    From USTA Florida,  June 16, 2011



    Harry Cacciatore, State Champion B10, Dave Porter, and Grey Cacciatore, Winner Backdraw

    A morning rain delay gave way to sunny skies and high humidity on Thursday, the final day of play at the 63rd USTA Florida Jr. State Closed Singles Championships, held June 11-16, 2011, at the Florida Tennis Center in Daytona Beach.

    Top-seeded Danielle Collins won the Girls’ 18 title, defeating No. 2 seed Chalena Scholl of Pompano Beach 6-1, 6-1. Collins also captured the 18s title two years ago, and was a 12s division champion. “I didn’t do well here last year,” said Collins, who earlier this year won the USTA National 18 Spring Hardcourts title. “I’ve been working on hitting the ball harder, and also getting a little more spin on the ball and hitting with a little more variety. I’ve been working out at Bollettieri’s a lot, so all the hard work is paying off.” The St. Petersburg native says she is considering a number of colleges, including Georgia, Miami, Florida, Northwestern and Tennessee among the leaders. “I’ll make some college visits and try to make a decision in August,” Collins said.

    In the Girls 16 final, now-three-time Jr. State Closed champ Katerina Stewart, the No. 4 seed from Miami, defeated Sarasota’s Caroline Dailey in straight sets. Last year Stewart played the 14s event and finished in fifth place, after previously winning the 12s and 10s events. Stewart, who hits excessive topspin like her idol Rafael Nadal, and displays a crafty court sense with angles and forays to the net, traded breaks with Dailey during a tight first set 6-4, before pulling away in the second set 6-0. “She came out strong the first set, I just had to stay focused and not get frustrated,” Stewart said. “In the second set I just did my plan and she went away. My plan was to make her move and hit it to her weaker side, which was her forehand.” Stewart earlier this year finished in second place at the Easter Bowl, and after her Jr. State Closed win on Thursday, celebrated with an order of french fries from the food truck at the Florida Tennis Center. The runner-up Dailey won the US Open Playoffs-Florida title approximately a month ago, and will advance to the national competition and a chance to win a US Open women’s qualifying draw wildcard. “I thought it was awesome,” said Dailey, who has been playing a mix of junior and pro events in 2011, of the US Open Playoffs event. “It was a really good tournament and I’m glad I played in it.”

    No. 4-seeded Madison Bourguignon of Boynton Beach won the all-Madison battle in the Girls’ 14 final, defeating No. 7 seed Madison Harrison of Cortez 6-1, 6-2 in the final. It was the first USTA Florida Jr. State Closed Singles event for Bourguignon, who moved to Florida last September from Washington state. “I thought I played well, she’s very aggressive so I had to play well,” Bourguignon said. “I was trying to keep it deep on the returns and get a high first serve percentage. I hadn’t really played on clay until I moved here, but since then I like it a lot.”

    In the Boys’ 18 final, No. 2 seed Brett Clark of Naples upset top-seeded Zack Mc Court of Sunrise 6-4, 7-6(6), fighting back from 1-5 down in the second-set tiebreak. “I was about to pass out in that second set,” said Clark, who took an early lead in both sets before fight-backs from McCourt. “In the second set I went up 5-3, kind of took a break — wanted to see if I could serve it out at 5-4 — couldn’t, and we held for 6-all. He didn’t really make an error until 5-1 in the tiebreak when he double-faulted twice. From that point on I just dug in deep, found a second gear and won the match.”  It was the first USTA Florida Jr. State Closed Singles title for Clark, who has competed at the event in every division (10s, 12s, 14s, 16s, and 18s). “I’m just so happy,” said Clark, breaking out in a smile. “I’ve never even made the semis here since I played the 10s (division) — this has not really been my best tournament, I’ve never played my best tennis here, but I’m glad (my win) was in the 18s.” Clark is coached in Naples by Mario Fratangelo, the father of friend and hitting partner Bjorn Fratangelo who won the 2011 French Open junior boys title.  “I haven’t been playing that well lately, I had to fix my forehand and backhand and serve recently, pretty much everything, and it has all come together,” Clark said. “Up until this tournament, I definitely liked hardcourt better, but now I’m switching to clay.” Only 17 years old, Clark says he looks forward to his final year at the event in 2012.

    The Boys’ 16 final was the battle of Bradenton as No. 3-seeded Ognjen Samardzic outlasted No. 4 seed Tommy Mylnikov  6-4, 6-7(6), 6-4 in a contentious match that saw both players receive code violations from the chair umpire. “At 4-2 in the third I was up but blew it, it got to 4-all and I played a clutch game, and won it in the end,” said Samardzic, who watched his opponent hit a second serve long to win the match. It was the seventh year competing at the event for Samardzic, who had never surpassed the semifinals in any division.

    In the Boys’ 14 final, No. 3 seed Chase Colton outlasted No. 2 Reilly Opelka 4-6, 6-1, 6-2 in the heat to claim the championship. Colton said the heat was oppressive, but the mental battle was the larger part of the match. “I was up 3-0, playing really well, I backed off and let him in, he started playing more aggressively and I lost the first set,” Colton said. “Second set started the same, went up 4-0, and I told myself to remain calm, keep my composure, try to take balls early, and I won that set. Third set I went down 0-2, didn’t want that to happen, then some more break points and I told myself to really focus, and I won 6-2. It was definitely more mental than the heat. Yesterday was hotter, I felt like I was going to throw up at 7-5, 5-4, 30-love. I just hit two big serves and got out of that match.” It was the first time Colton had achieved better than a third-place finish after six years of competing at the Jr. State Closed. “I’ve been having a great year, I won a Level 2 Nationals a month ago, I played extremely well there, I got to the quarterfinals of the super-national Easter Bowl, I’ve been having a good year so far, so it’s been just continuing to go up,” said Colton, who says he likes hardcourts and claycourts equally. “I don’t really care what surface it’s on, I like sliding — I slide on hardcourt too — it’s fun to play. I’d love to play on a grasscourt one day — I can’t wait for that day.”

    Wesley Chapel’s top-seeded Noah Makarome took home the Boys’ 12 title, easing past No. 3 seed Vasil Kirkov of Tampa 6-2, 6-2 in the final. Makarome similarly made easy work of No. 4 seed Evan Bynoe in the semifinals, beating the Parkland resident 6-1, 6-0.

    No. 3-seeded Harry Cacciatore, who with his twin brother Grey is a mainstay in taking home USTA Jr. Team Tennis titles for the City of Gainesville under the team name “G-Power,” defeated No. 4 seed Matthew Fung of Miami for the Boys’ 10 title. In the semifinals Cacciatore defeated top-seeded Harrison Gold of Aventura 6-3, 6-2.

    Hallandale Beach’s Amanda Anisimova won the Girls’ 10 title as the No. 2 seed, upsetting top-seeded Zoe Hitt of Miami in the final. Another Wesley Chapel resident won the Girls’ 12 title when No. 2 seed Jaeda Daniel defeated top-seeded Nicole Conrad of Boca Raton 6-3, 7-5. In the semifinals Daniel knocked out the No. 4 seed Melissa Plambeck of Bradenton in straight sets.

    Harry Cacciatore State Champion Boys 10 and Under and Matthew Fong, Finalist

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