The Road to THE TOUR CHAMPIONSHIP 2024
Nov 19: 16U UTR - Tenniscentral.us Cup
In the last weekend of the fall season to maneuver for spots in the UTR Fall Finals, the real feast this week occurred a few days early. The 16U crown changed hands twice in the span of twenty-four hours, and No. 1 played No. 2 on two different occasions.
Fresh off a USTA tournament title the day before, Atlee Hilliard met Jon Ozenci to defend her No. 1 ranking at the Tenniscentral.us Cup. Commentators clamored that no No. 1 and No. 2 pairing should have to meet in the semifinals, but it was indeed Solomon Ravitz who secured the top seed in the event based on UTR, leaving us a semifinal to savor.
Ozenci grabbed the third set tiebreak 10-0 after a tight 5-3 second set. It wasn't even his first dominant performance in a tiebreak that morning.
To get there, he needed to first emerge from yet another No. 1 v No. 2 matchup---this time at the 14U level. He kept his No. 1 ranking by defeating No. 2 Carter Mills in the quarterfinals. The challenger took the first set 5-3, but Ozenci righted the ship and sped through a 10-1 tiebreak victory.
Meanwhile, Lukas Nuxoll upended Ravitz in incredible fashion, racing to a 4-2 first set before Ravitz clawed back in an 8-6 tiebreak to force the third set, where Nuxoll regained his rhythm to win 10-3 and reach the final.
Ozenci claimed another championship, his fifth in the past year on tour, by virtue of a victorious 5-3 second set against Nuxoll, who was entering his first event since late April and clocking his best finish since last November.
The title placed Ozenci just ahead of Hilliard on the 16U Tour---but that was before Saturday's USTA results hit the computer. Her prowess in the five-player group, where the opener against Serena Provinse gave her the most trouble at 6-2, earned her Hilliard's championship and Ozenci's dropped points from a year ago were enough to catapult her back into the No. 1 slot. She still leads the tours at 16U and 18U heading into the UTR Fall Finals.
The biggest draw Saturday included fourteen boys duking it out at the USTA 12U Waterfall. Thomas Huang won his second tournament in as many entries---the first was the 10U team event a few months ago. In the final he met Zain Beg, who ranks just nine places ahead of him now at No. 15.
Valentina Rosales, winning twice in two tries going back to September 30, went 2-0 in group play at the 12U Girls USTA event to claim the last Fall Finals spot on merit. She improved to No. 28 on the 12U Tour.
In the UTR Draw B, Spencer Weiss returned to win three matches en route to the championship, clutching a tiebreak from Tiago Eozenou 7-4 in the final. But Eozenou didn't trail far behind in terms of points this weekend, pulling off the rare feat of silver medal in the main draw and consolation bracket champion. He took on Milan Trajkovic and won the dramatic tiebreak 10-8.
It was Aiden Zhang who defeated Mills to claim the Draw A consolation bracket.
Players who have earned the initial invitations to the UTR Fall Finals are the Top 6 boys and girls on both the overall Tour and in the Fall Tours (including only points earned from Fall 2023 tournaments).
Three matches were played in the Blue Glove Open league as players head into the final stretch to determine finals pairings. Alexander Toker-Katskee cemented his position in the Group A Final by defeating Alexander Yu 8-4. The Group A leader goes to 3-0 on the season and looks set to face James Reed.
Yu, however, went to the top of the Group C standings with his second win. He is the Player of the Week for his 8-3 win against Group B leader Jake Snow. In doing so he set up a possible finals showdown with Siena Auzoux.
In Group B, Snow may face Lila Briskin-Watson in the final unless Isabella Sofia Martelli can do some maneuvering. Everyone is awaiting the third rematch of Finn Koski and Rhett Dove for the Group D final---each previous iteration has gone down to the wire.
Shannon Bu took the opening match of the weekend, an 8-0 win over Kate LeBlanc, for her first win of the campaign and an outside shot at making the Group C final.
Blue Glove Open - Fall 2023 Standings
The top two players in each group qualify for Championship Weekend 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.
UTR 16U Draw A: Jon Ozenci
UTR 16U Draw B: Spencer Weiss
USTA 12U Boys: Thomas Huang
USTA 12U Girls: Valentina Rosales
USTA 16U Girls: Atlee Hilliard
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.