2009 USTA NATIONAL SPRING CHAMPIONSHIPS
hosted by the City of Delray Beach, Florida
April 12-19, 2009
Monday, April 13, 2009-Day Two
Tornado Black. The name itself should strike fear across the net before a single ball is even struck. And on this Day two, the whirling dervish wreaked havoc with her seeded foe, Madison Clarke (Phoenix, AZ), scattering her game from corner to corner with barely a resemblance of the number “16” moniker that adorned her name on the 128-player draw. But before we tell you the tale of the battle, before we relive the struggle and suppress the image of the carnage laid to waste on the wind-blasted clay remains of the Delray Swim and Tennis Club courts, let us paint the picture for you…
”She likes to sing and dance on the court. She can’t contain herself.” Excuse me? Is this the one they call “Tornado?” The one named “Black,” a color reserved for sports legends famed for feeding off intimidation, wicked and evil intentions and malicious, overbearing drive? “Sometimes she’ll do it in the middle of a point. It can be so embarrassing” further chimed in Tai Martin, her doubles partner and friend of four years. So much for image being everything, unless the image of Black’s ‘cabbage patch’ leaves you quivering in your Con’s. Now, back to the matches as we should revel in what brought us to sit with the F4 twister from Boca Raton and find out more about what makes her tennis tick.
Playing a seeded opponent in the 12’s when you are only 10-years old can make a match even more nerve-wrecking than a traditional day at the office (and let the record show that Black’s reply when I asked her how it felt to beat the No. 16 seed was, “I played a seed?”). And when you lose the first set, the odds don’t exactly increase… But don’t tell Tornado. In experience beyond her years it was an aggressive charge that brought her back to even and eventually the upset win, 3-6, 6-3, 6-3. “She was getting everything back,” Black said in a very matter of fact statement. “So I just the played the net more” she commented in an almost planned reply. Listening to her, I felt as if she had a series of strategies that she went down one by one until she found the silver bullet. 10-years old and to have that composure…That’s the recipe for our Day Two Girls Player of the Day.
At the boys’ sites in a faraway galaxy, there was a disturbance in the force, Charley Force (Jacksonville, FL), as the No. 7 seed was sent packing to the Death Star, a.k.a. the consolation tournament. It wasn’t April showers that took down our Jedi warrior but Bailey Showers, the unseeded player from Bellaire, Texas. Wielding his racquet with the menacing flair of a light saber, Showers thumped the rebellion with a routine 6-4, 6-2 score. For that win with distinct aplomb, we applaud you and crown you as our Day Two Boys Player of the Day.
Off the court, more than 150 players attended the annual Players Party at the Delray Beach Community Center. Ping pong tournaments, basketball free throw and 3-point contest and martial arts exhibitions were enjoyed by all.
Don't miss this rare, exciting and FREE opportunity to see tomorrow's stars that will carry the tennis torch when passed on from Andy, James, Serena and Venus, all players who have taken the USTA National road to their success. Girls' matches start at 8:45AM at the Delray Swim & Tennis Club (2350 Jaeger Dr., Delray Beach, FL 33444, 561 243 7058) while the boys' matches start at 11:00AM at the Swim & Racquet Center (21626 St. Andrews, Boca Raton, FL, 561 395 0128) and Boca West Country Club (20583 Boca West Dr., Boca Raton, FL, 561 488 6996). All Semifinal and Championship matches (boys and girls) will be played at the Delray Beach Stadium & Tennis Center (201 W. Atlantic Ave., Delray Beach, FL, 33444, 561 243 7360) on Friday, April 17 and Saturday, April 18. Also stay tuned to Fox Sports Florida as a 1-hour program featuring highlights of the Boys' and Girls' Singles Championships will be televised statewide in May.
Click Here For Stories & Photos from the 2008 National Spring 12s Championships