Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Kodali dominates to win USTA National Open 14s title


Anudeep Kodali of Durham, N.C., was spraying the ball all over the court with seemingly the greatest of ease.

He is the future star of USA Tennis.

“In the second set, I was going for everything and it was working,” Kodali said.

Despite soggy conditions at the Westgate Tennis Center on 27th, Monday afternoon, Kodali was on his ‘A’ game in defeating Alex Phillips of Peachtree City, Ga., 6-2, 6-1 in the USTA Boys National Open 14s championship match.

“I knew what he was going to do from the start of the match,” Kodali said. “He was going to go for my forehand, so I was more aggressive with my backhand.

“I was just hitting the ball so well on the strings – hitting corners and drop shots.”

Phillips had no answers to offset Kodali’s fine play.

“Unfortunately in the finals, he kind of overpowered me,” Phillips said. “He hit it really hard and deep and took advantage of his slow ball.”

It marked the first time Kodali has been a No. 1 seed in a national open tournament.

His toughest test over the three-day event came during a 6-4, 6-4 semifinal match on Sunday against Abhin Sharma of Alpharetta, Ga.

“The first two matches, I need to get used to the players and the atmosphere,” Kodali said. “I don’t play my best until later in the tournament. I step it up.”

Kodali said it was one of his top wins competing in the 14 and under age division.

“This is like the second biggest tournament so far,” Kodali said. “It’s my first national open win this year.

“The other was when I was 13 last year in the nationals, I wasn’t seeded and got to the semis in San Antonio.”

This time Kodali, once ranked No. 1 nationally as a 12-year-old, completed the mission and took home his first national title as a 14-year-old.

He also won the doubles championship on Monday while teaming up with Small to defeat Galen Lee and Francis Yang, 6-2, 6-1.
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