Alyssa Ahn captured the 16s singles crown Sunday at the United States Tennis Association 16s and 18s National Championships.
Alyssa won 6-2, 6-3 over unseeded Christasha McNeil before a large crowd on Stadium Court at Barnes Tennis Center near Ocean Beach, where she happens to train full time.
Ahn, of Carmel Valley, acknowledged the boost from her home-court advantage.
“I’m more comfortable on the courts than my opponents,” she said. “To have a lot of people cheering for me from San Diego helped a lot, too.”
Ahn became the first San Diegan to win the 16s singles title since 2016 when Nicole Mossmer of La Jolla accomplished the feat.
“It means a lot because I know how prestigious this tournament is. Actually, when I was 10, I watched the 16s and 18s. I was in the crowd, and now it’s cool to be one of the players,” Ahn said after she was presented her USTA Gold Ball by tennis legend Billie Jean King, who lends her name to the championships.
Ahn also received a Wild Card entry into the US Open Junior Main Draw for this year’s U.S. Open in Flushing, N.Y.
She had earned her way into the final by coming back to defeat fellow San Diegan Claire Zhang Friday in three sets, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4.
In the 18s singles final, fourth-seed Eleana Yu of Mason, Ohio scored a thrilling 6-3, 7-5 victory over the 17th seed, Valerie Glozman of Bellevue, Wash.
Yu established the pace of the match early in the first set with two service breaks and built a commanding 5-1 lead. Glozman came back to win the next two games to cut the gap, but Yu confidently served out the first set at love.
Glozman jumped out to a 4-2 lead in the second set, but Yu staged a strong comeback and won five of the next six games to prevail in the championship match.
“I was just making sure that I kept fighting. I knew each point would matter a lot. I felt I was really mentally into the match,” Yu said after receiving her Gold Ball.
As the reigning Girls’ 18s singles champion, Yu received a Wild Card into the 2022 U.S. Open Main Draw.
“I’ve always dreamed of playing a Slam and now I’ll actually be able to play. I’m excited about the opportunity,” she said.