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Talented juniors picked up accolades, trophies, and wild cards over the weekend at the most prestigious tournaments in the United States, in San Diego and Kalamazoo. Three out of the four finalists have appeared in UTR Pro Tennis Tour action this season.
SVAJDA DOMINATES IN KALAMAZOO
On Sunday, Zach Svajda (UTR Rating 14.04*) won his second USTA Boys 18s National Championships in Kalamazoo, Mich. to earn a wild card into the US Open. The teen didn’t drop a set in seven matches and never lost more than four games in any of the 15 sets he played.
In the final, the 18-year-old Californian defeated University of Florida rising sophomore Ben Shelton (UTR Rating 14.00), 6-1, 6-4, 6-1 (the final is played in the best-of-five format). Svajda has really made good on his No. 1 status on the Universal Tennis U18 American boys list, released earlier this month. He has the highest UTR Rating amongst U18 boys in the United States.
Shelton, who helped Florida win its first NCAA team title in program history in May, will receive a US Open qualifying wild card and a main draw doubles wild card (with Bruno Kuzuhara) for winning the boys' doubles title in Kalamazoo. The Florida native’s first tournament after NCAA’s was the UTR Pro Tennis Tour Men's $25K in Bradenton, Fla. where he played six matches and finished in second place.
Svajda also won the Kalamazoo Boys' 18s title in 2019, the last time the junior event was held. He would make his Grand Slam debut that year losing in the first round in New York and will look to leave a bigger mark when he returns to the major later this summer.
Svajda made his UTR Pro Tennis Tour debut at the Naples Clay 2 in January before playing mostly ITF Pro Circuit tournaments heading into Kalamazoo.
KRUEGER WINS IN SAN DIEGO
The USTA Billie Jean King Girls' 18s National Championships gold ball in San Diego, Calif. went to 17-year-old Ashlyn Krueger (UTR Rating 11.40). Krueger defeated 16-year-old Reese Brantmeier (UTR Rating 11.11), 6-2, 7-6(3).
Both Krueger and Brantmeier made the Universal Tennis Top 10 U18 American girls list this month, coming in at No. 4 and No. 7, respectively.
Brantmeier started her 2021 season by making a run to the PTT Naples Women’s $25K Clay 1 final in January. In the following weeks, she went 13-2 on the ITF Junior Circuit, winning a Grade 5 title and reaching a Grade 1 final in San Diego.
Brantmeier would reach the third round of junior Wimbledon before her performance last week at the Girls 18s National Championships. Krueger will receive a wild card into the US Open main draw, while Brantmeier will gain entry into the singles qualifying draw.
•UTR Ratings as of 9 a.m. EST, Aug. 17, 2021.