Cerritos’ Chen, Newport Beach’s Kratzer Make Final Four at Nationals

A rematch of this year’s French Open Girls’ singles final highlighted quarterfinal play at the USTA Girls’ 16s & 18s National Championships on Friday at the Barnes Tennis Center.

Playing under partly-sunny skies, eighth-seeded Whitney Osuigwe needed three hours and 13 minutes to defeat second-seeded Claire Liu 7-5, 6-7 (8), 6-4 in a heart-stopping Girls’ 18s quarterfinal encounter before a large crowd on Stadium Court.

Osuigwe, this year’s French Open Girls’ singles champion, broke Liu’s serve in the 12th game to win the first set. In the second set, Liu and Osuigwe exchanged a total of six service breaks and eventually went to a tie-break.

In the tiebreaker, Osuigwe quickly took a 5-0 lead and looked to be on her way to a straight-set victory. However, Liu, this year’s Wimbledon Girls’ singles champion, staged a dramatic come back and fought off three match points before winning the set to send the match to a deciding third set.

Osuigwe took control of the third set and capitalized on two service breaks to take a commanding 5-2 lead. Liu once again rallied as she broke serve and then held to close the gap to 5-4. However, on her sixth match point of the day, Osuigwe finally served out the match in the tenth game of the set to advance to the semifinals.
In other Girls’ 18s quarterfinal action, Kelly Chen of Cerritos, Calif., seeded 33rd, came back to oust tenth-seeded Ann Li of Devon, Pa., 6-3, 2-6, 7-6 (0).  In the third set, Li, a Wimbledon Girls’ finalist this year, led 4-0, but Chen rallied to win five games in a row.

After exchanging service breaks at 5-5, the match was decided in a third-set tie-breaker as Chen swept the tiebreak to move into the semifinals.

In Saturday’s Girls’ 18s singles semifinals, Chen will play 12th seeded Caty Mcnally of Cincinnati and Osuigwe (pictured below) will face third-seeded Ashley Kratzer of Newport Beach, Calif.

The Girls’ 16s singles final, which is scheduled for Saturday at 11:30 a.m. (PDT), will feature ninth-seeded Angelica Blake of Boca Raton, Fla., against 14th seeded Nikki Redelijk of Windermere, Fla.

Blake defeated unseeded Connie Ma of Dublin, Calif., 6-2, 6-3 in the semifinals, while Redelijk eliminated fourth-seeded Sedona Gallagher of Henderson, Nev., 6-4, 6-3.

Tennis Channel will broadcast the Girls’ 16s singles final and both Girls’ 18s singles semifinals on Saturday, Aug. 12, and the Girls’ 18s singles final on Sunday, Aug. 13.

This weekend’s Tennis Channel coverage of the USTA Girls’ 16s & 18s National Championships in San Diego will be as follows:

Saturday, Aug. 12 – Girls’ 16s singles final and both Girls’ 18s semifinals 2:30-8:30 p.m. ET (11:30 a.m. -5:30 p.m. PT) immediately following the Rogers Cup from Canada.

Sunday, Aug. 13 – Girls’ 18s singles final 4-6 p.m. ET (1-3 p.m. PT) immediately following the Rogers Cup and Western & Southern first round.

Over 400 girls aged 16 and 18 and under are competing for the title of National Champion, as well as a wild card entry into the Women’s Singles main draw of the US Open (for the 18s Champion) and a wild card into the US Open Junior Championships (for the 16s Champion).  The 18s Doubles Champions will also receive a wild card into the US Open Women’s Doubles main draw.

The Girls’ 16s event concludes with the singles and doubles finals on Saturday Aug. 12. The Girls’ 18s tournament will conclude with the 18s singles championship on Sunday, Aug. 13. Both divisions feature 256-player singles draws with the top 32 players receiving a first-round bye. There will also be 128-team doubles draws with the top 16 teams getting first-round byes.

The starting times for this weekend will be as follows:
9 a.m. – Saturday, August 12
10 a.m. – Sunday, August 13

Admission and on-site parking at the Barnes Tennis Center is free.

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