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  • Writer's pictureMichael Augsberger

Vazquez goes tiebreak city among 12 champions

The Road to THE TOUR CHAMPIONSHIP 2024

Jul 6: USTA 10U Orange and 12U Green, Bethesda

July 6-7: USTA PDS Summer Camps Open 12U and 16U Boys & Girls, Princeton



No fewer than 12 champions were crowns this weekend at Tennis Central tournaments up and down the East Coast. Leo Vasquez did his best England at the Euros impersonation by bringing all three of his matches to the brink.


The Princeton player needed a tiebreak in all of his matches before he won the final, having climbed up to the top of from the early around play-in match.


Meanwhile, in the DMV, we had another world cup like atmosphere, where eight groups of four or five players battled it out for championships. A number of repeat winners emerged alongside newly minted victors we need to keep an eye on this summer.


Nikolas Gay and Isabel Madani, returning top players, put on a show at the 10U Green event. Their 4-3 match went down to the wire and decided the group championship, which Gay won by a whisker to stay unbeaten and hand Madani her only loss in a 3-1 campaign.

 

Newcomer Jony Drichta and former champion Klay Scarlett both had little trouble taking gold. The tournament wins meant Scarlett and Gay made the biggest leaps in the Tour rankings. Scarlett found the Top 20 for the first time, improving 21 places, while Gay moved up even faster into the Top 25.


But much drama enfolded in the three way tie for first in Group 4. Elizabeth Goffe had the chance to close out the gold medal against Aarul Pathak, with Beckett Lewis looking on closely. Beckett had just edged Pathak to keep everyone alive in the race, while Goffe had won 4-3 over Lewis.


Pathak won the last match over Goffe 4-1, and his margin of victory vaulted him to first place.

Still, the closest group of the day belonged to the 12U Green tournament. By the end of the slate Ed Dwameni had defeated group champion Anasofia Bladuell--both Tour veterans--but her 4-2 win over Ishaan Kowlessar gave her the tiebreak edge she needed to eek past Kowlessar in the standings. The two both finished 2-1, but Bladuell grabbed the gold.


Zain Beg marched on to victory speedily and further increased his substantial ranking. The dominant win gave him a six-place push-up to No. 10 on the 12U Tour.


Sania Venkatesan navigated two tough matches in her group to become champion again, with Nathaniel Dubin and Levi Rodman testing her. But it is a game of styles. Yiyi Liu may not have been able to dig into the champion, but she matched well with the rest of the group to go unbeaten against the field and take the silver.


Up north, fittingly Vazquez finished off his championship in not just a tiebreak but in extra time--8-6 against Cy Sellmyer in the final. He knocked off the top seed in the semis with the help of a 7-5 first set tiebreak, and he needed one in the first set of the quarters as well. 


Nolan Maurer raced to the marquee event championship of the Princeton schedule at the 16U Boys. In the final he defeated Jamie Ruan, who might have run out of steam upsetting the top seeded Tobey Tullo in a tight 7-5 tiebreak three setter. 


Maurer's most memorable match might have been the semifinal, however. There he faced Arjun Arya, a steady grinder who faced disappointment in his last marathon semifinal in Princeton last week. This time he got just as close in the first set before Maurer turned on the jets in the second. Maurer debuts at No. 42 in the rankings, one place behind last week's Princeton champion Daniel Haiduc.


Penninngton's Lotti Flink won the Girls 12U going away without dropping a single game. Top seeds Xinni Wang and Zehui Li motored through to the final in similar fashion, where Wang stepped up to the top of the podium after a closer second set. 


Very little changed in the 18U rankings without an event this weekend, and at the 16U the Garden Staters reshuffled some of the lower spots. Andrew Kinnear joined the Top 15.


Things got a lot more interesting on the 12U Tour. Besides Beg's big move, Vincent Finisdore grabbed a Top 5 spot. Dubin's performance placed him just outside the Top 25, the closest he's been. Lara Dabney moved one spot closer to challenging leader Shiloh Auzoux, now just 33 points ahead of Siena Auzoux at the top.


His lead is somewhat safer on the 10U Tour, where just Scarlett and Gay made their maneuvers at a safe distance. 


The Tour takes a breather after a big Fourth of July weekend to celebrate Bastille Day at The Beach Tennis & Pool as well as the European Championships and Wimbledon finals. In late July it picks back up again with a similar 10U and 12U event before a long swing through three straight August weekends in Princeton.


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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