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  • Writer's pictureMichael Augsberger

Another record posted as 64 UTR participants duke it out


The largest UTR tournament in the three years of the Tennis Central Junior Circuit descended on Holton Arms this weekend. In total sixty-four got after it for eight championships, where the finals for 12U and 14U sparked the biggest fireworks.

Jon Ozenci proved yet again why he remains atop the rankings, winning a first set tiebreak 7-2 in his 14U final against Leon Cosmovici before closing out a close 4-2 second set. 

The situation was reversed for James Amis, winner of the 12U championship. After a 4-1 first set, Akshara Chandra pushed him to his limits, but Amis dominated the tiebreak to earn another title and crack the Top 15 in just a few events played.

Comparatively Ashvin Ellentuck and Jeffrey Zhang had more straightforward but no less difficult finals. Ellentuck made his debut to plaudits, winning the top division 5-3 over Katharine Morrison once she recovered from a barrage of offense in the first set. And another newcomer, Zhang had to contend with oft-successful Leonardo Martinez. He did so in straight sets.

Ellentuck then opened his account at 40th on the Tour. Ozenci closed the distance on leader Atlee Hilliard in the 16U and 18U rankings, but not quite enough to overtake her. Caroline Peterson, up seven spots into the Top 10, and Carter Mills were the big winners on the leaderboard this week.

The two matches of the day, however, belonged to the B flight tournaments. The 12U B final was more dramatic than most so-called thrillers these days. Henry Chew needed extra time in the first set, but then Hayden Espy got the one break she needed in the second. In the tiebreak, Espy barely outlasted him 10-8. The crown and the 60 points to go with it were hers.

Meanwhile Cornelia Touw and Jake Snow went even further in their opening match. The first round worthy of a final saw Touw race to an early lead before Snow righted the ship in a close second set. Their tiebreak was legendary, with a Touw scoring the UTR upset by the slimmest of margins, 12-10. Lara Isler then won her semifinal over the somewhat depleted winner, moving Isler up eight places to No. 17 on Tour.

We also witnessed two marathons in the lead up to the 14U A championship. Cosmovici's semifinal win barreled through two quick sets against Carter Mills before they buckled down for a 10-4 tiebreak. Mills stays among the Big Five as one of the most decorated players on tour. 

In the other Zahra Doriwala faced Alexander Shin, with Shin grabbing their quarterfinal 10-5 in the third. Doriwala is noted for winning among the most individual titles on tour. Shin made the semis.

It was the first event in some weeks for Shiloh Auzoux, who leads both 10U and 12U Tours and increased his margins via his semifinal showing here.

Little changed among the 18U Tour with its idle week. But Caroline Peterson, with her 16U B victory, and Daniela Corona Shturman both moved up among the Top 10.

The same held true for the 10U Tour despite, somehow, having held the biggest A draw of the weekend. No changes in the top rankings surfaced. But Zhang and Leonardo found themselves closer on the big board, at No. 31 and No. 38, respectively.

Opening the month of May will be the USTA 10U Orange and 12U Green events on May 4, followed by the first major of the season. The two-day USTA Level 6 tournament for 12U and 16U barrels right into Mothers' Day Weekend.

The second major follows not long after, on June 2, at the UTR Spring Finals.

2024 Points Change

A change to the points applied to higher-level tournaments from lower levels should reflect ages and skills better from now on. It used to be that all points were halved when applied to a higher age group's rankings. Now, the points are halved each step up the ladder, not just once.

So a player can no longer earn 80 points at 10U and count them as 40 at 16U. They would be halved at 12U (40 points), again at 14U (20 points), then again at 16U (10 points). It provides the incentive without disrupting the older players' earnings too much.

However, a younger player earning points in an older tournament, much as Arnav Nadikatla did in this Tour Championship edition, is still a sure way to rise faster in those rankings.

Remember the newly added feature to the rankings: the Plus / Minus, which will tell you how far up or down the player has moved within the last week.

The full tables now look like this.

Each weekend this spring and summer, Tennis Central is bringing you USTA and UTR tournaments at Holton-Arms School. Earn points for advancing through each round, just like on the pro tours, and qualify for the TOUR CHAMPIONSHIP at season's end.

Bigger events offer more points, with the TOUR CHAMPIONSHIP offering the most, as well as prizes.

Check here for updates each week to the Tennis Central Tour Rankings, a 52-week points system based on the pro tours, as well as recaps of all the action and photos. We'll post the 2024 schedule soon!

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