The future of American tennis will capture the spotlight in San Diego next week as the nation’s top 16- and 18-year old players compete at the 2019 USTA Billie Jean King Girls 16s/18s National Championships, presented by adidas.
Top seed Hailey Baptiste, of Washington, D.C., headlines the 18s division. Baptiste stunned former US Open finalist Madison Keys this week at the Citi Open, thrilling her hometown crowd by toppling the #2 seed in straight sets to kick off her first WTA tournament.
Katie Volynets (Walnut Creek, Calif.), who defeated Baptiste in the Daytona qualifier earlier this year, is the #2 seed. Also highlighting the 18s draw are #8 seed Hurricane Tyra Black and Katrina Scott, the #14 seed from Woodland Hills, Calif.
Valencia Xu holds the top spot among Girls 16s. The New Jersey native will be a strong favorite in a crowded draw, considering her impressive title-winning performance last November at the Girls 18s National Junior Indoor Championships.
Vivian Ovrootsky (San Jose, Calif.) is the second seed, and La Mesa’s Winta Woldeab is the #3 seed. Woldeab will also compete in doubles following her second place finish at USTA SoCal Open Sectionals in July. Maya Pitts, the Southern California Junior Sectionals champion from Culver City, Calif., and Leyden Games, the Sectional finalist from Irvine, Calif., are also slated to compete.
The tournament champions in each division earn a coveted Wild Card spot in the US Open Main Draw, in addition to a slot in the US Open Junior Championships. Finalists are rewarded with a spot in the Grand Slam qualifier.
Play begins at 8am on Saturday, August 2. Each division features a 256 player draw, leading to the Girls 16s final (Barnes Tennis Center, August 10) and Girls 18s championship (Barnes, August 11). View the play schedule here.
The Girls Nationals celebrates 101 years of stellar competition this year. Each summer, the stars of tomorrow are on display in search of what may be their final triumph before embarking on a professional career. Throughout its history, a perennial Who’s Who of tennis greats have passed through San Diego on their way to stardom – and in some cases, to the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
In 2018, the tournament was named in honor of the legendary Billie Jean King, who is expected to attend this week. The impressive roster of former champions includes Chris Evert, Tracy Austin, Jennifer Capriati, Zina Garrison, Mary Jo Fernandez, Lindsay Davenport, and Kayla Day.
Whitney Osuigwe, the 2018 champion (Girls 18s) in both singles and doubles, has won two ITF Women’s events (and reached the final of a third) since her win at Nationals last year. She is currently ranked #110 on the WTA Tour. Wimbledon stunner Coco Gauff played in San Diego last year and finished third.
An array of local talent will compete in both divisions, highlighting some of the exceptional athletes who represent #TeamSoCal. Players to watch include Junior Sectional doubles champs Delanie Dunkle (Arroyo Grande) and teammate Maia Sung (Rolling Hills), incoming USC Trojan Eryn Cayetano (Corona), Camille Kiss (Redlands), Kimberly Hance (Torrance), and Casie Wooten (Torrance). Hina Inoue (Huntington Beach), Katherine Hui (San Diego), Kaia Wolfe (Rancho Mission Viejo), and Sectionals champion Midori Castillo (Bonita) headline in the 16s division.
What: USTA Billie Jean King Girls 16s/18s National Championships
Where: Barnes Tennis Center | Balboa Tennis Center | San Diego State University
When: Saturday, August 3 thru Sunday, August 11
For complete information, including schedules and special events, visit www.ustagirlsnationals.com.
Tennis Channel will broadcast the Girls’ 16s singles final from 1-3 p.m. (PDT) on Saturday, August 10 and the Girls’ 18s singles final from 2-4 p.m. (PDT) on Sunday, August 11.
All tournament matches played on Stadium Court at the Barnes Tennis Center will be streamed live at www.ustagirlsnationals.com beginning Saturday, August 3 through Friday, August 9.