Girls’ 16s top-seed Gianna Pielet overcame second-set nerves and went on to post a 6-1, 7-5 victory over Simran Chhabra of Irving, Texas to advance to the third-round of the USTA Billie Jean King Girls’ 16s & 18s National Championship at the Barnes Tennis Center.
After dropping the first game of the opening set, the 16-year old Pielet of El Paso, Texas, won six straight games to put away the first set in 46 minutes. However, Chhabra raised the level of her game in the second set and matched Pielet game-by-game.
With no service breaks through the first 11 games, Chhabra was on serve at 5-6 as she served to stay in the match. She fell behind 40-15 and that was all Pielet needed as the top-seed cracked a down the line forehand winner on her first match point to close out the second-round match in one-hour and 48 minutes.
“I feel really confident. I’m definitely playing really solid tennis right now. I have to give her (Chhabra) credit because she definitely picked it up in the second set. I felt like I got a little nervous, a little tighter, but I figured it out,” Pielet said.
“I’m not here to put pressure on myself and say I have to win because that’s what it’s not about. I’m just practicing on what I need to do, which is getting better,” Pielet added. “It would definitely mean a lot to get my eighth gold ball, but then again, if I don’t win, I won’t be upset because it’s a journey and a process you have to be prepared for. I’m just happy to be here.”
Top seeds in the Girls’ 18s division will play their second-round match on Monday after receiving first-round byes. No. 1 seed Kayla Day of Santa Barbara, Calif., will face Neha Velaga of Colmar, Pa., at 11 a.m., while second-seeded Whitney Osuigwe of Bradenton, Fla., will meet Blessing Nwaozuzu of Beachwood, Ohio at 12:30 p.m.
Third-seeded Cori Gauff of Delray Beach, Fla., is scheduled to play her second-round match against Nicole Conard of Boca Raton, Fla., at 12:30 p.m. Gauff is currently the No. 1 ranked player in the International Tennis Federation junior rankings.
In Sunday’s 18s first-round action, two local players advanced to the second round. Unseeded Elizabeth Goldsmith of Chula Vista, Calif., eliminated Monique Woog of Lakeland, Tenn., 6-4, 6-0 and 33rd seeded Nicole Mossmer of La Jolla, Calif., cruised past McKenna Koenig of Scottsdale, Ariz., 6-1, 6-1.
For updated tournament draws in each division, please go to: https://tennislink.usta.com/tournaments/TournamentHome/Tournament.aspx?T=208363#&&s=7
This past April, the USTA renamed the USTA Girls’ 16s & 18s National Championships to honor tennis icon Billie Jean King, a member of the International Tennis Hall of Fame. King is scheduled to attend the final two days of the tournament.
All tournament matches played on Stadium Court at the Barnes Tennis Center will be streamed live on the tournament website through Friday, August 10. The link is available at www.ustagirlsnationals.com/
The Tennis Channel schedule for the final two days of the tournament will be as follows:
Saturday, August 11
Girl’s 18s Singles Semifinals – 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. PDT (2 to 6 p.m. EDT)
Girl’s 16s Singles Final – 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. PDT (7:30 to 9:30 p.m. EDT)
Sunday, August 12
Girl’s 18s Singles Final – 1 to 3 p.m. PDT (4 to 6 p.m. EDT)
Over 400 of the top junior tennis players in the country, 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 2018 US Open (for the 18s Champion) and a wild card into the 2018 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 updated starting times for each day of the tournament will be as follows:
Monday, August 6 — 8 a.m.
Tuesday, August 7 through Sunday, August 12 — 9 a.m.
(Starting times subject to change)
Early-round tournament matches will also be played at San Diego State University’s Aztec Tennis Center, 5375 Remington Rd., San Diego, CA, 92115 through Tuesday, Aug. 7, and the Balboa Tennis Club, 2221 Morley Field Drive, San Diego, CA 92104 through Wednesday, Aug. 8.
Admission and on-site parking at the Barnes Tennis Center is free each day of the tournament. For fans watching matches at SDSU and the Balboa Tennis Club, admission is free. There is a nominal charge for on-campus parking at SDSU. Parking regulations at the university will be strictly enforced. Parking is free at the Balboa Tennis Club.