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Florida's Graff, Robinson Win Girls 16s National Clay Court Doubles

July 30, 2009 07:00 AM
By Kathryn Barrett, Special to USTA Florida

(Virginia Beach, VA) -- Lindsay Graff, 16, of Ft. Lauderdale, and Nicole Robinson, 14, of West Palm Beach, earned their first gold ball at the USTA Girl's 16s Clay Court Championships last week.

The teens went into the tournament motivated by their desire to win their first gold ball.

"We wanted to start a collection and we got our first," exclaimed Graff. Robinson continued, "I've been wanting to earn a gold ball for a long time and I earned it with a special person."

The Floridians defeated the Mid-Atlantic team of Fabiolla Chaillo, 15, of Falls Church, VA, and 14-year-old Spencer Liang of Potomac, MD, 6-3, 6-2.

Graff and Robinson were unseeded in the field of 192 players at Virginia Beach Tennis and Country Club in Virginia Beach, VA.

They weren't used to being unseeded.

"I guess we were underestimated, but that's ok," Graff said with a shrug and a smile. Robinson added, "It motivated us." According to the girls, they also reached the final of the 2008 Florida Open, a national tournament, and won the Girl's 14s Florida State doubles in 2007.

On the strength of their overhead smashes and net play, Graff and Robinson quickly ended points and dominated the match. The second set in the championship match included two games in which Graff and Robinson denied their opponents any points.

"We were really crossing across the net and getting the point done quickly," said Graff, who trains at Harold Soloman Tennis Academy. Robinson, whose is trained by her father, said, "We were being smart and placing our balls away from our opponents."

The Floridians played smart all week. Two days earlier, the unseeded pair surprised the No. 1 seeds Kyle McPhillips of Willoughby, OH, and Julie Vrabel of Centreville, VA, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 in the quarterfinals.

In that match, they found themselves down love-40 in one game but fought back to win it. "We didn't waste too much time," Robinson explained. "We get down games -- (we) don't give up," replied a determined Graff.

They two also defeated the No. 9, 7 and 4 seeds as they made their way to the finals.

Graff is currently ranked No. 13 in USTA's Florida region in the high school class of 2011 by TennisRecruiting.net. Robinson is ranked No. 9 in Florida in the class of 2013.

"Highly successful" is how Graff described their tournament. There's no arguing Robinson and Graff were highly successful and they have the first gold balls for their collections to prove it.





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