Sekou Coker Bangoura
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Monday, January 22nd-Final Day (almost)
The rain held off until afternoon so it did not disrupt the majority of singles finals. With everything played at around the same time at two sites, I decided to stay at the Biltmore Tennis Center to catch the Boys' and Girls' 12s, 16s and Boys' 18s. I was not at all disappointed with my choices.
First up was the 16s as the two matches played side by side. The boys were both unseeded and the play of Jeremy Efferding (above) and Ridley Seguso certainly made you wonder why. There were great points and through most of the match some of the best sportsmanship I have seen, with the friends congratulating each other on shots and games. It was a tight first set that went to Jeremy, 6-3, and most of the same in the second for Ridley, 6-4. The third was a bit more dramatic as a warning over Ridley's falling hat caused a loss in concentration, but it was still good until Jeremy's 6-4 ending.
Rebecca Bodine may have started with a 2-0 lead, but after Monica Puig (left) broke back for 3-2, the match was all hers. Monica made the finals at the Junior Orange Bowl and Eddie Herr, but she got the top prize at the Plaza Cup with a 6-4,6-0 victory.
Nine year old Stefan Kozlov was pumped and screaming through his match with Juan Padilla. The boys 12s final was full of close points and games that even ended in a tiebreaker on a seventh match point. That point was for Stefan at 6-4,7-6(4).
I didn't get to see a lot of the Girls' 12s because they played on the other side of the park, but they too seemed to be playing long games before Alexandria Stiteler (right) took it 6-4,6-3 over Sierra Stone.
The Boys' 18s match between William Federhofer and Sekou Coker Bangoura was a back and forth affair that lasted for days. Despite an early lead from Sekou, it was William who took the first after a long game and a break back at 5-5. After that 7-5 set, Sekou took charge in the second for a 6-2 win. They were just getting into the third and were at 1-1 when the rain came. We all waited around for awhile, but it was finally postponed until Tuesday. I was back in Boca at the USTA Pro Circuit event, but you can read the details on Zoo Tennis of Sekou's third set win.
I did get to see some points of the 18s third place match as Spencer Wolf (left) won over Jeffrey Morris, 6-0,5-7,6-1. At the other site, it was Mallory Burdette in the Girls' 18s and Alexandra Morozova in the 14s taking first place.
The Tennis Plaza Cup was my first full coverage since my arm surgery and it couldn't have been a better start. I look forward to coming back to Miami where the competition is always as hot as the temperatures.
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