Southern California juniors are headed to New York after stellar performances at the 2022 USTA National Championships - USTA Southern California
Junior News

Southern California juniors are headed to New York after stellar performances at the 2022 USTA National Championships

#TeamSoCal rarely returns from national competition empty-handed, and last week on hard courts was no exception. Led by powerful performances in Boys’ 18s and Girls’ 16s, local top juniors hoisted multiple awards and accolades at the annual USTA National Championships. The competition was held at five locations across the country, featuring both singles and doubles hard courts competition across the 18s, 16s, 14s, and 12s age groups.

The 18s singles and doubles champions were rewarded with U.S. Open main draw wild cards. Meanwhile, the singles finalists in the boys’ and girls’ 18s divisions received wild card entries into the U.S. Open Qualifying Tournament set to begin on Tuesday, August 23, at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, New York. Meanwhile, the Boys’ and Girls’ 16s singles champions earned wild card entries into the U.S. Open Junior Championships.

Sixteen-year-old Learner Tien of Irvine, who is currently ranked as the No. 40 junior in the world in the latest ITF rankings, has been on a hot streak. With 24 ITF singles wins this year, including the singles title at the prestigious ITF International Spring Championships in San Diego this spring, Tien also reached the quarterfinals at the Wimbledon Junior Championships last month. Most notable was his performance this week after winning the 2022 USTA National Boys’ 18 Championships in Kalamazoo, Michigan. This earned him an automatic wild card entry into the U.S. Open main draw and U.S. Open Junior main draw, making him one of the youngest men to ever compete at the U.S. Open.

After a rain delay, Tien overtook the no. 2 seed Ethan Quinn (Fresno), who just finished a red-shirt freshman year at the University of Georgia, in a four-and-a-half-hour, four-set match 7-6, 7-6, 5-7, 6-3 to capture the title. Tien will be the first 16-year-old to compete at the U.S. Open since La Jolla’s Zach Svajda in 2019.

Tien, who turns 17 on December 2, will be the youngest player to compete in the men’s singles main draw at the U.S. Open since a 16-year-old Donald Young, who also won at Kalamazoo, played in the U.S. Open in 2005.

Fifteen-year-old Alyssa Ahn of Carmel will be joining Tien on a trip to Flushing Meadows after capturing the 16s singles title on Sunday at the USTA Billie Jean King Girls’ 16s and 18s National Championships. With her victory, she received a wild card entry into the 2022 U.S. Open Junior Championships main draw.

Ahn earned her way into the final after defeating fellow San Diegan, Claire Zhang, in three sets 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 on Friday. Ahn’s performance earned her a Gold Ball with a 6-2, 6-3 win over unseeded Christasha McNeil before a large crowd. More impressively, in the crowd at Barnes Tennis Center, where she trains full time, was Billie Jean King, whom the tournament is named after. Ahn became the first San Diegan to win the girls’ 16s singles title since 2016 when Nicole Mossmer of La Jolla took home the title.

Claire Zhang came back from her loss against Ahn to earn a Bronze Ball in Girls’ 16s singles after winning the 3-4 playoffs and San Marino’s Tianmei Wang received fourth place.

2022 Wimbledon Boys’ doubles champions and Easter Bowl Champions, Alex Michelsen of Aliso Viejo and former SoCal resident Sebastian Gornzy proved to be a dynamic duo once again, receiving the Silver Ball in the Boys’ 18s doubles in Kalamazoo. Their second place performance earned them a wild card entry into the U.S. Open Qualifying Tournament and U.S. Open Junior main draw. 

Recent Stanford University commit and 2022 Southern California Junior Sectionals Boys’ 18s champion, Hudson Rivera of Rancho Santa Fe, and partner Braden Shick (Southern) earned fourth place in Kalamazoo, securing them a wild card into the U.S. Open Junior Qualifying Tournament.

San Diego’s Katherine Hui and Isabella Chhiv of Irvine, who will both be heading to New Jersey to play at Princeton University, paired up for Girls’ 18s doubles at Barnes Tennis Center. The two future Tigers received a Bronze Ball and U.S. Open Junior main draw wild card after winning 4-6, 6-2, 6-1 in the 3-4 playoff on Sunday. Hui also reached the semi finals in the Girls’ 18s singles main draw, earning another ticket to New York with a wild card in the U.S. Open Junior Qualifying Tournament.

Los Angeles’ Cassius Chinlund and Stiles Brocket (Mid-Atlantic) reached the finals in Boys’ 16s doubles, and brought home a Silver Ball. 

In Rome, Georgia, no. 30 seed Thea Frodin of Woodland Hills and Anita Tu (Florida,) earned their Gold Ball in the Girls’ 14s doubles after defeating the no. 1 seed Bella Payne and Sara Shumate 6-1, 1-6, 6-2. San Diego’s Anqi Mei and Sylmar’s Kara Garcia won the Girls’ 14s doubles consolation 6-3, 3-6(10).

This year’s Southern California Junior Sectionals Girls’ 12 runner up Julia Seversen of Coto de Caza led the Southern California Girls’ 12s in Peachtree Corners, Georgia, bringing home a Gold Ball with doubles partner Hannah Ayrault (Southern). She was also crowned the North Draw Singles Champion after winning straight sets in the final.

Meanwhile in Mobile, Alabama, Long Beach’s Liam Alvarez received a Bronze Ball for his third place finish in the Boys’ 14s singles and Kimi Basamakov of Newbury Park got fourth place in Boys’ 14s doubles. Adrian Sharma of Porter Ranch won the respective singles title at the USTA Boys’ 12s National Championships and made it to the quarter finals in the main draw with doubles partner Stefanos Constantinides of San Diego.

See the list of top finishers below.

Girls 18s Singles
Katherine Hui – 4th Place, SF main draw
Katie Codd – QF main draw

Girls 18s Doubles
Katherine Hui & Isabella Chhiv – 3rd place (Bronze Ball), SF main draw

Girls 16s Singles
Alyssa Ahn – Champion (Gold Ball)
Claire Zhang – 3rd place (Bronze Ball)
Tianmei Wang – 4th place
Olivia Center – 5th place (Consolation Winner), QF main draw
Kate Fakih – QF main draw

Girls 16s Doubles
Alyssa Ahn & Sophie Hernandez (NorCal) – 4th place
Isabella Bringas & Sabrina Lin (NorCal) – QF main draw
Kate Fakih & Claire Zhang – QF main draw

Girls 14s Doubles
Thea Frodin & Anita Tu (Florida) – Champions (Gold Ball)
Kara Garcia & Anqi Mei – Consolation Winners

Girls 12s Singles
Julia Seversen – North Draw Champion
Emery June Martin – R16 main draw
Ava Penn – R16 main draw

Girls 12s Doubles
Julia Seversen & Hannah Ayrault (Southern) – Champions (Gold Ball)

Boys 18s Singles
Learner Tien – Champion (Gold Ball)
Alex Michelsen – QF main draw
Kyle Kang – QF main draw

Boys 18s Doubles
Alex Michelsen & Sebastian Gornzy (Texas, former SoCal) – 2nd place (Silver Ball)
Hudson Rivera & Braden Shick (Southern) – 4th place
Chase Thompson & Aadarsh Tripathi (NorCal) – QF main draw

Boys 16s Singles
Quang Duong – QF main draw

Boys 16s Doubles
Cassius Chinlund & Stiles Brocket (Mid-Atlantic) – 2nd place (Silver Ball)
Calvin Wang & Vincent Yang (Pacific NW) – QF main draw

Boys 14s Singles
Liam Alvarez – 3rd place (Bronze Ball), SF main draw
Ilias Bouzoubaa – QF main draw

Boys 14s Doubles
Kimi Basamakov & Micah Ward (Mo Valley) – 4th place, SF main draw
Ilias Bouzoubaa & Brayden Tallakson – QF main draw

Boys 12s Singles
Adrian Sharma – North Draw Champion
Stefanos Constantinides – R16 main draw
Asher Yuan – R16 main draw

Boys 12s Doubles
Adrian Sharma & Stefanos Constantinides – QF main draw