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The 2022 fall Universal Tennis Junior Nationals just wrapped up in San Diego on Monday. Players from all over the nation competed at the Barnes Tennis Center for the chance to win a national title, catch the eye of college coaches, and earn UTR Pro Tennis Tour wild cards.
The Junior Pathway was launched in 2021 and returned in 2022 with both a spring and fall season. The college-exposure-focused pathway was created by Universal Tennis to allow players to get scouted by college coaches, learn about the college and pro tennis experience, and improve their UTR Ratings. All 15U and 17U matches were live-streamed.
Want to learn more about the Junior Pathway? Watch this.
The Junior Nationals in San Diego was the last stop of the 2022 fall Junior National Pathway, which started in September with 16 Regional events taking place at college campuses around the U.S. Winners of the 15U and 17U divisions qualified for nationals, and the draws were filled out by at-large registrations (based on UTR Rating).
Suh, Davison Win 15U Junior Nationals
In Monday's boys' final action, Jack Davison defeated Austin Cohen, 6-4, 6-4, to take the 15U trophy. Davison didn't drop a set in five matches and came into the tournament as the NorCal & Pacific NW Regional champion. Davison won all five of his Regional matches in straight sets also, making him a perfect 20-0 in sets In the fall Junior National Pathway. With a UTR Rating of 10.03, he was the second highest-rated boy in the 15U division.
The 15U girls' title went to Sophie Suh after she beat Elizabeth Fauchet, 6-3, 6-1. Fauchet won the 15U title at the spring Junior Nationals in Rome, Ga., in June of this year. Suh, a seventh grader from Orange, Calif., won all of her matches handily.
"I think it's great that you get a guaranteed three matches," Suh said. "So everyone like gets to play a lot, especially for people who are traveling. It's a great experience to play different formats. My favorite experience was just to play different people in the round robin."
Antonescu, Buffington Capture 17U Universal Tennis Junior Nationals
The boys' 17U title was captured by Matteo Antonescu after he topped Lucas Coriaty. Antonescu survived a tough three-set battle in the semifinals to book his place in the final against Coriaty. Coriaty is a blue-chip recruit for the Class of 2024 with plans to attend Northwestern. He defeated Oumar Diallo in the semifinals (Diallo was the inaugural Boys' 15U Universal Tennis junior national champion in Las Vegas last December).
"You get to play a lot of matches, no matter what," Antonescu said. "You just get to come out here and compete. Doesn't matter win or lose, you still get to play three matches, so it's great."
Via wild card entries, Antonescu and Coriaty have already played on the UTR Pro Tennis Tour (PTT), a pro tour launched in 2021 for aspiring pros that guarantees multiple matches and prize money. The format for the Junior National Pathway events is very similar to the PTT, with round-robin group action followed by playoffs. Eligible Junior Nationals winners, finalists, and semifinals can receive wild cards into future PTT events.
In the 17U girls' final, Tatum Buffington beat Athena Li, 6-4, 6-3. Buffington was the sixth-highest player in the girls' 17U field, per UTR Rating. The San Diego resident got to compete in her hometown, giving her a slight edge of comfort. She won the So Cal & Arizona Regional in September to earn her place in San Diego.
"I've been working really hard for it and kind of leading up to it playing tournaments and practicing," Buffington said. "It was my goal, so I'm really happy I accomplished it. I think
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