Last weekend, the level of competitive tennis was at an all-time high at the 2013 USTA New England Sectional Qualifying Tournament in which four local players gained access to the 2013 US Open National Playoffs to be held in August. Qualifying tournaments from three of the 13 participating USTA sections were completed this weekend, advancing 11 total players.
In the USTA New England tournament in New Haven, Conn., Nolan Paige, 19, of Fairfield, Conn., captured the New England singles title for the third time in four years. Paige defeated Bryant University standout Dana Parziale, 21, of Cumberland, R.I., 6-0, 7-6, in the final. Paige plays for Stanford and was named the ITA Northwest Region Rookie of the Year this past season. He was one of New England’s top juniors, climbing to No. 5 in the USTA national junior rankings in 2010; he lost just one singles match during his high school career.
In the women’s final, Meghan Kelley, 15, of Falmouth, Maine, defeated Dayna Lord, 17, of Bloomfield, Conn., in a tight match, 5-7, 6-1, 7-6. Kelley, one of the youngest competitors in this year’s competition, has been ranked in the Top 20 in the USTA National Girls’ 14s rankings and won the Girls’ 16s doubles title at the 2012 USTA National Clay Court Championships. Kelley trains at the Manchester Athletic Club in Massachusetts and has also received tennis lessons from Nick Bollettieri. Lord has committed to playing at Brown University.
Kelley also won the mixed doubles title with Daniel Quiceno, 33, of Beverly, Mass., defeating Marjorie Ondeck and Benjamin Zuckerberg, 6-4, 6-2. Quiceno, who teaches at Manchester Athletic Club and once worked at the Bollettieri Academy, was the No. 1 junior in Colombia and starred at Troy University. He has been a hitting partner for Tommy Haas and Maria Sharapova.
The high level of competition was present throughout the entire tournament, starting from the very beginning. Jim Purington, the Tournament and Ranking Manager for USTA New England, says, "There were many great matches played this weekend, starting even Thursday morning with the first round matches. Viboosh Chandrasekhar and Thomas Suchodolski, for example, played very intense, very great points."
The USTA New England Sectional Qualifying Tournament welcomed 115 players. "The tournament attracts a mix of high level players and weekend warriors who want to travel to a match or two on the road to the US Open. The Sectional Qualifying Tournament is truly an open event- players of diverse ages and skill levels enter and have a great time. It is an opportunity for junior players to get good matches against skilled and crafty, seasoned players," adds Purington.
Interested players are invited to participate in the 2014 tournament which is sure to promise another weekend of high level match play. He says, "It truly is a wonderful event. Next year’s tournament should be posted on TennisLink in February. Set aside a few days in June and get out and play!"
The winners or top available finishers from each of the 13 sectional qualifying tournaments held throughout the spring and summer advance to the US Open National Playoffs – Men’s, Women’s and Mixed Doubles Championships, to be held during the New Haven Open at Yale, an Emirates Airline US Open Series women’s event, in August. The US Open National Playoffs mixed doubles champions receive a main draw wild card into the 2013 US Open, while the men’s and women’s singles champions earn a wild card into the US Open Qualifying Tournament held the week prior to the US Open.