A local tennis player won one of the best junior tournaments in the country last weekend.
Kaitlin Quevedo, a Naples resident, won the United States Tennis Association’s 16th National Clay Court Championships for girls. Quevedo, 15, won the national championship 8-0 over eight days at the Athletic Club Alabama in Huntsville.
“This tournament is one of the most important for juniors in the US,” said Quevedo. “I’ve never won such a big title. It was really something special for me to survive this tournament and to realize that I can win something so big. “
Quevedo called the Daily News from Colombia. After winning the clay court title on Sunday, she flew to the South American country on Monday to take part in three tournaments of the International Tennis Federation over the next few weeks.
Last month Quevedo was named Southwest Florida Girls Tennis Player of the Year by Daily News and The News-Press. She earned the honor after going undefeated in her freshman year at the Community School of Naples, leading the Seahawks to second place in state in Class 1A.
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However, after a busy and successful summer, Quevedo said she won’t be returning to CSN or playing high school tennis next year. She will do virtual school while training at the Gomez Tennis Academy in Naples and focusing on junior events.
One of Quevedo’s Gomez coaches, Connor McDonald, was with her in Alabama at the Clay Court Nationals. Quevedo said she was grateful for McDonald’s support, especially after falling behind in the final.
In the Girls 16 Championship Match, Quevedo dropped the first set 6-2 to Tola Glowaga of Glen Head, New York.
“She was a very good player,” said Quevedo of her opponent in the final. “Your game had a lot of variety. It took me a while to figure out how best to play them. I started to be more patient, to play more attentively and to play on their weaknesses. “
Quevedo won the second set 6-2. Glowaka won the first game of the third and final set, but Quevedo were 2-1 ahead when Regen delayed the game by more than an hour.
The interruption didn’t stop Quevedo’s momentum. She won the third set 6-4 and took her first national title.
“That was a really exciting moment,” she said at the end. “All the hard work has paid off, all the really tough fitness sessions that we have at Gomez.”
Quevedo thanked her parents Alberto and Margo for their love and support off the pitch and also thanked those who helped her on the pitch.
“I just want to thank the Gomez Tennis Academy for everything they have done,” said Quevedo. “Coach Connor helped me master hard math. All the players I train with, all the support they give, that really helps. “
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