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  • Writer's pictureMichael Augsberger

Ozenci, Ellentuck play final for the ages


June 8: USTA 10U Orange and 12U Green

June 9: UTR String48 Open - 10U, 12U, 14U, 16U

Jon Ozenci and Ashvin Ellentuck renewed their newfound rivalry at the 16U String48 Open this weekend to a climactic finish. The Tour No. 1 proved again why he belonged there, Ozenci winning 12-10 in the final by tiebreak to capture yet another Tennis Central trophy.

It was a reprisal of their earlier round classic in the season's previous stop at the UTR Spring Finals, which produced the same result, as Ellentuck gets one step closer to overcoming his great rival. 

One hundred and three juniors competed over two days in the spring season's last UTR and USTA tournaments before summer officially kicks off.

Saturday played host to the 10U Green and 12U Orange USTA event, where the slight majority of players were entered. Meghan Dorsey, Chloe Conradi, Karthik Heda, and David Gomez Hermida took the groups in the Orange tournament, with Hermida the only one going 4-0. The only player to test him was Kylie La-Ongmani, in a 4-3 win for the champion. But then Klau Scarlett was able to squeeze past Ongmani 4-2 to claim silver.

The same occurred in Group C, as Heda went unbeaten but was pushed to the brink by Ian Levy before Alp Ucak won 4-3 for second place.

Yet somehow Group B was even closer. Three tied at the top with a 2-1 record, and fourth place finisher Isabel Madani almost gave the title to Gia Lee or Stefan Simanich by making Conradi fight for her victory 4-3.

No fewer than nine groups were needed to determine 12U Green champions on Saturday, with thirty six entrants to the tournament. Each went an unbeaten 3-0 in groups of four.

Leonardo Martinez won another Tennis Central event, as did Bohan Jin when he overcame Oliver Lu 4-2 for his championship. Group C had one of the closest finishes--Oliver Madani defeated Mia Li 4-3 under the no-tiebreak format. 

Seasoned players this weekend went to the regular ball tournament held on Sunday for each age group, though the 18U combined with the 16U for a nine-player championship. 

But Leon Cosmovici won the event with the most entries, as the 12U tournament boasted twenty-four competitors. His emphatic 4-0, 4-0 championship win over J. Xiao was indicative of his play overall against the field.

That left Gerald Mugera the honor of winning the tournament with the largest single bracket, as twelve players all competed for the same prize. He took on Owen Richmond in the final. After splitting quick sets the tiebreak was just a quick, as Mugera showed authority in the 10-1 win.

The semifinals of the 10U event on Sunday eclipsed the drama of the final. Brady Bilnoski had to suffer through a second set 7-4 tiebreak loss to Rhett Dove before righting the ship in a 10-5 third set tiebreak, no simple task. Meanwhile, Nila Raznahan's semifinal tiebreak was even more dramatic, as Nathaniel Dubin got within a few points of the final at 12-10. But Bilnoski clinched the final without the same amount of hassle later in the day.

In the rankings, Ozenci kept his No. 1 position at 14U and 16U and climbed to within forty points of Atlee Hilliard on the 18U rankings. Ellentuck vaulted to No. 11 after another second-place performance following his win in late April. Alexander Yu took up his place in the Top Ten on the 14U Tour as much of the latter half of the same shifted slightly. Elijah Park did the same on the 12U Tour.

No changes of note took place in the 18U and 10U Top Tens, but just beyond that we saw massive movement. Meghan Dorsey announced her plans to challenge for the top spots with her group win this week, landing eighty-two places higher than last week at No. 15. Rhett Dove, with her dramatic finish to the 10U event, climbed to No. 16.

After a few weeks to regroup for summer camps to start up, Tennis Central returns with two simultaneous Tour stops. TCJC hits Princeton, NJ for its second tournament there and first USTA event on June 29-30. Then Green and Orange makes a return to Holton-Arms on June 30.

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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