2009 USTA NATIONAL CLAY COURT CHAMPIONSHIPS
July 19-26, 2009
Boys' 18 & 16 - Hosted by The City of Delray Beach, Florida
Eight miraculous days consecrated our clay courts, and sanctified our tournament staff, players, parents and coaches with beautiful weather and brilliant tennis. In return, I report back to you with history made.
No. 2 seed Jack Sock (Lincoln, NE) struck Gold. Actually, he struck two Golds. In his entire junior career, Jack has managed to jack 21 "Balls," and after the '09 Clays, 17 of which are now "Gold Balls." Regardless, I'm in awe. Jack Sock has achieved so much before his 21st birthday. What does he have to look forward to now?
At 9:00am, the crowds rolled in to watch No. 4 seed Sekou Coker Bangoura (Bradenton, FL), who had uproot top-seed Frederick Saba (Ft. Lauderdale, FL) yesterday, to grind it out today against No. 2 seed Jack Sock. The match looked very familiar, somewhat like yesterday's Bangoura vs. Saba semifinal match. It appeared as if today Sock was sockin' it to Bangoura, much like Bangoura was bangin' it to Saba yesterday. For every great chip-and-charge, Sock would make an even greater passing shot. For every big serve, Sock would go 5-10 mph more. Bangoura's timing was just a hair off, and Sock was not going to let his opponent catch up. As the match completed, 6-3,6-2 in Sock's favor, both competitors graciously signed autographs for future national prospects and tended to the media's line-of-questioning.
Upon leaving the star-struck paparazzi, Sock had to re-focus for the doubles finals with his partner, Frederick Saba. Later, Leslie/Reed challenged Sock/Saba but the Fates seemed to predetermine two Balls (Gold & Gold) for Sock, and two (Bronze & Gold) Balls for Saba. You boys are both going home with some solid hardware. Well deserved. Therefore, by unanimous vote, Jack Sock is our Day 8 Boys' 18 Player of the Day & Player of the Tournament.
Following the Boys' 18 singles final, center court was groomed and ready to be dug up again by the Boys' 16 singles final with the No. 1 seed Bjorn Fratangelo (Pittsburgh, PA) and No. 2 seed Jack Withrow (Omaha, NE). But this Nebraskan was not as fortunate as was Boys' 18s Sock. First set was tight and could have gone either way, but finished in 'Frat's favor, 7-6.
Perhaps these eight long, brutally competitive and athletically tolling days just got to be too much for Withrow. On the other hand, perhaps Fratangelo was not going "to suffer the slings and arrows" without taking home the "outrageous fortune" - the Gold Ball. Even in the final game, Fratangelo looked unshakeable-entirely resolved upon being crowned the '09 Boys' 16 "King of Clays." He did his home state of Pennsylvania proud by bringing home a victory, 7-6,6-2. For "taking arms against the opposing sea of 191 troubles, and opposing to end them," we undoubtedly decree Bjorn "Ice Man" Fratangelo as the Boys' 16 Day 8 Player of the Day & Player of the Tournament.
"Nats' at The Beach" moves next to "Nats' at The Zoo." To all clay court competitors, we wish you luck at the hard courts and anticipate we'll hear great things from all of your athletic, academic and extracurricular endeavors. To the Boys' 18 singles champion, Jack Sock, we'll see you next in Delray Beach for the Delray Beach International Tennis Championships (ITC), a $500,000 ATP World Tour Event, February 20-28, 2010.
BOYS' 18 SINGLES
Girls' 18 - Racquet Club of Memphis - Memphis Tennessee
Girls' 16 - Virginia Beach Tennis & Country Club - Virginia Beach, Virginia
Boys' 14 - Jimmy Evert Tennis Center - Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Girls' 14 - Frank Veltri Tennis Center - Plantation, Florida
Boys' 12 - Spencer Love Tennis Center - Greensboro, North Carolina
Girls' 12 - Polo Club of Boca Raton - Boca Raton, Florida
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