by John Lumley
Thirteen juniors headed to Philadelphia for the 2018 Junior Handicap tournament. Friday & Saturday were the group stages where we saw Riley Herriman, Bob Wang & Jack Hnat come out on top of their own groups! On Saturday we also held three clinics for each of the groups which worked perfectly – getting the juniors out on court bonding together and learning the game.
On Sunday there was another clinic at 8:15am which was attended by six juniors who showed great things to come by getting up early and working on their game. With the winners of each group already into the quarterfinals it was up to the rest of the field to battle it out. Lydia Danas from Washington had a great match against Asher Ricci. Danas took the match 8-6 with a tight 40-all game taking her to play “the man in form” – Theo Yannuzzi – who had beaten Henry Smith 8-0.
In the first quarter Riley Herriman beat fellow St. Joe’s team mate 8-5 to secure the first semifinal spot. Theo Yannuzzi and Lydia Danas had a fantastic match going back and forth the whole way but in the end Yannuzzi found his length and snuck it out 8-7. Another great match followed with Dawson Chisholm versus Jack Hnat. Chisholm was generating good pace and serving well but Hnat hung in there and crushing some targets took the match 8-7. Bob Wang was up next against Wylie Courson. Courson played great in the first match beating Ben Sheridan 8-1 but couldn’t keep the streak going and lost to Wang 8-2.
In the semifinals Herriman exploded out of the blocks causing Yannuzzi to make errors. Yannuzzi fought back well but in the end couldn’t close the gap. Herriman took it 8-5 to secure his place in the final. In the other semi Wang was on fire serving inch perfect railroads causing Hnat some trouble. Wang and Hnat exchanged some superb points but in the end, Wang took it 8-1.
Riley Herriman versus Bob Wang was the final and both players started well. Wang who was starting to really control the ball and was improving every match was moving Herriman round the court and creating great chases. Herriman a very competitive player kept at it to make it back from 5-2 down to 5 games all but Wang seeing light at the end of the tunnel knuckled down and made very few errors and took the title 8-5.
A fantastic match – the perfect way to end a great weekend. Thanks to all competitors for playing, the parents for getting the juniors all here and the USCTPF/USCTA Player Development Program for their support.