Junior News

Junior Sectionals: Top seeds to christen Opening Night as 2021 tournament kicks off

The 119th Southern California Junior Sectional Championships begin Saturday in Orange County, highlighted by the return of the prestigious and historic event to Los Cab Sports Village in Fountain Valley.

Last year’s tournament, delayed due to the pandemic, was completed in October, leaving barely nine months between Sectional competitions. This year’s Signature Series event will incorporate several new features, including video screens and multiple locations, scheduled match coverage on USTASoCal’s YouTube page, and more.

On Saturday, play will extend into early evening as Opening Night at Los Cab features all eight of the top seeds in action at same time. A new tradition starting in 2021, the first evening of play will spotlight each player who earned the top spot in their respective draws.

In 18s, Alex Michelsen seeks to repeat as champion in the top Boys’ division. Michelsen, from Aliso Viejo, was a finalist last month in the San Diego L2. He was almost unbeatable last fall, winning three of the region’s prestigious junior tournaments in succession – the Harper Ink, Woody Hunt, and JP Yamasaki tournaments – before capturing the Sectional title. The field chasing Michelsen includes (2) Learner Tien, (3) Gianluca Brunkow, and (4) Conrad Brown.

San Diego’s Kaila Barksdale leads the Girls 18s draw. Barksdale won the Lakewood L3 Open in April before posting an impressive run at the USTA invitational in Mobile last month by advancing to the semifinal. While Barksdale was notching wins in Alabama, the #2 seed Daniela Borruel (Buena Park) captured the Team Bryan USTA National Championship in Las Vegas. Mika Ikemori (#3) and Marley Lambert (#4) are among the top seeds in the draw.

Other top seeds in action on Saturday include Perry DiGiulio (B16s), Cleo Hutchinson (G16s), Keaton Hance (B14s), Kenzie Nguyen (G14s), Liam Alvarez (B12s), and Julieta Pareja (G12s).

Follow the tournament results at usta.com and @USTASoCal on social media.