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  • Writer's pictureMichael Augsberger

Walter surges into Tour Championship spots


Aug 13 - UTR 14U & 16U - The String48 Amateur

The races are winding down to the Tour Championship just as they rise up into a crescendo of drama in the fight for the final automatic bids. The top six boys and girls on each age group's tour earn the right to play in September's Tour Championship. Repeat champion Braden Walter made his case quite emphatically this weekend, as did Keegan Knightly in winning his first event.

Walter met Atlee Hilliard in the final of the String48 Amateur, Sunday's 16U UTR tournament, where he dispatched the likely TC qualifier 4-2, 4-1. He met stiffer opposition in the semi, where Riece Grimes-Thomas tried to make her claim. That means Walter shoots into the Top 6 in all three of the highest-aged tours, climbing 24 places at 18U, and it should cement his place in the year-end championship.

Meanwhile, Hilliard is one of the top-qualifying girls at 16U and occupies a bubble spot at 18U for the Tour Championship. Grimes-Thomas, though joining the tour only recently, sits just two points behind Zahra Doriwala and Paisley Fromer for the final girls' spot. Doriwala may end up qualifying in multiple age groups, which could open the door for Grimes-Thomas, but another quality performance this week or next would likely do the damage herself.

Walter's resurgence hurts William van Horne, Anton Grib, and Benjamin Kaufman the most---these are all the boys bumped down just enough by the most recent champion's exploits.

Michael Kuoh lost out in a heartbreaking first round match to eventual semifinalist Sofia Gerhardt, 5-3, 4-2. But he rallied to win the consolation bracket and its fifteen points to jump up 18 places on the 14U tour.

Keegan Knightly, winner of his first-ever Tour title, put himself within seventy points of the qualification spots for the Tour Championship at 14U. He's now 14th and a few places behind Arnav Nadikatla after winning the 14U String48 Amateur running away, dropping just one game en route to the championship.

There he faced Lily Venzke who had defeated Lara Dabney earlier to claim second place. Venzke's silver medal now places her 5th in the 18U girls rankings, just enough to earn the invitation to the TC. Dabney, for her own merit, is the second-ranked girl on the 10U tour and should be safe to qualify for the big showdown in September.

But there are still two weeks remaining. With only five chances left in August to grab the points needed to qualify, here are the current rankings. The top six boys are marked with *, the top six girls with ^.

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.


8/13 UTR 14U: Keegan Knightly

8/13 UTR 16U: Braden Walter

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.

2023 Tour Schedule



Apr 30: 10U Green Dot UTR - Anguilla Service Trips Open - rescheduled for June 3






September 2: 12U & 18U UTR

September 3: 15U Singles & Doubles UTR

September 9-10: THE TOUR CHAMPIONSHIP - all age levels 10U-18U

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