In the end, experience won out.
Yesterday afternoon at the Tennis Center at College Park, 26-year-old Nika Kukharchuk defeated 14-year-old Junior Tennis Champions Center player Raveena Kingsley (6-2, 6-3) to claim back-to-back US Open Mid-Atlantic Playoff women’s titles.
“I was really nervous even when I woke up today,” said Nika. “I really wanted to win. I was tight throughout the entire match.”
Nika, a cagey and resourceful veteran, asserted her will early on in the contest. Once she tallied a 4-1 lead in the first set after two early breaks, she did not cede control.
The third game of the second set was the turning point in the match. Down 2-1, Raveena was on serve and up 40-15. Nika clawed back and forced three deuces. A backhand long on ad-out cinched the pivotal game for Nika.
In her phenomenal tournament run, Raveena picked up wins against the 2013 US Open Mid-Atlantic Playoff Mixed Doubles Champion Stephanie Wetmore (60% winning percentage in college) and the No. 2 seed and current Syracuse University junior Amanda Rodgers (72% winning percentage in college).
2013 US Open Mid-Atlantic Playoff Championship Results
Nika Kukharchuk d. Raveena Kingsley (6-2, 6-3)
Patrick Daciek d. Matt Brooklyn (6-4, 6-3)
Matt Brooklyn and Stephanie Wetmore d. Andrew Carlson and Olivia Gaudreault (6-3, 6-1).
The winner of each flight has earned a trip to New Haven, Connecticut to compete in the US Open National Playoffs (taking place during the New Haven Open) in August. The winner of each US Open National Playoff bracket will then pack their bags for New York to play in the US Open Qualifier (commencing August 28).