Southern California Tennis

Branstine & Johnson Have Become Juniors To Watch

Taylor Johnson, Kathy Rinaldi and Carson Branstine

Taylor Johnson, Kathy Rinaldi and Carson Branstine

Carson Branstine and Taylor Johnson have had a fall to remember. They received a wildcard into the International Tennis Federation Junior Championships at Life Time Athletic Peach Tree Corners in Atlanta, Georgia and won the Girls’ doubles title. Unseeded, the Southern California duo survived a three set second round test against the No. 1 seeds Alexa Bortles of Alpharetta, Georgia and Theresa Alison Van Zyl of South African. In the final, they edged Chloe Ouellet-Pizer of Chapel Hill, North Carolina and Kennedy Shaffer of Rossford, Ohio the No. 7 seeds, 7-6, 7-5

The second week of November, the Orange and Redondo Beach tandem captured the doubles title at the ITF tournament at the Evert Tennis Academy in Boca Raton. Unseeded again, they toppled the No. 1 seeded team in the quarterfinals and escaped with a 2-6, 7-5, 11-9 victory when they defeated Emma Decoste of Stuart, Florida and Kariann Pierre-Louis of Miami, Florida in the trophy round. Branstine was the singles champion too, defeating Jade Lewis of Hilton Head Island, South Carolina 7-6, 6-3 in the final.

Marc Lucero and Mark Walpole work with Johnson and Branstine respectively. Lucero offered, “I was not there to see them play, but my guess is that they were very aggressive. Taylor is very aggressive around the net and loves to volley.  Both girls can serve well, and Carson returns very well.”

USTA Lead National Coach, Kathy Rinaldi said, “The girls won two of the three ITF tournament they played. (The second event took place at the Lexington Country Tennis Complex in South Carolina.) Carson won the singles title at Boca Raton as well.

“The coaches enjoyed watching Carson and Taylor’s improvement over the three-week trip. They were motivated to work hard and improve. We are very proud of the successes they have enjoyed and look forward to watching their continued progress, and growth in the future.”

Mark Winters

Look for a fresh examination of tennis topics at “Mark Thoughts”

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