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Fla. vs. Calif., Vickery vs. Gibbs in BNP Tennis Monday Night Warm-Up

February 27, 2010 06:00 PM

 Sachia Vickery

It will be Florida vs. California when two U.S. future tennis stars play a warm-up match on Monday night, prior to the BNP Paribas Showdown for the Billie Jean King Cup on ESPN, featuring Venus Williams, Kim Clijsters, Ana Ivanovic and Svetlana Kuznetsova.

The America's Future Stars match-up at Madison Square Garden in New York will feature 14-year-old Sachia Vickery of Miramar, Fla., against 16-year-old Nicole Gibbs of Manhattan Beach, Calif.   

Vickery played in the first USTA Pro Circuit tournament of her young career at the $10,000 women's event in Evansville, Ind., in July 2009, winning three straight matches to qualify for the main draw, and then advancing to the semifinals. As a junior, she won the girls' 16s title at the 2009 Eddie Herr and the singles title at the 2009 AEGON Teen Tennis tournament in England, one of the world's most prestigious international events for players aged 14-and-under. She also won the girls' 14s title at the 2008 Easter Bowl and helped lead the U.S. to consecutive titles at the World Junior Tennis Championships in 2008-09. Vickery has worked with Richard Williams, father of the Williams sisters, on improving her game.

Gibbs won her first pro title in 2007 at the age of 14 at a $10,000 ITF event in Mexico City. She continued to fulfill that early promise in 2009, reaching the semifinals at the $25,000 ITF event in Puebla, Mexico, and the quarterfinals at the USTA Pro Circuit $50,000 event in Carson, Calif. She also reached the semifinals at the International Spring Championships, an ITF World Junior Circuit event, and the quarterfinals at the USTA Girls 18s National Championships. In 2008, Gibbs reached back-to-back quarterfinals at $10,000 USTA Pro Circuit events in Atlanta and Evansville, Ind., before reaching the final at the Canadian Open, an ITF junior event. Gibbs won the Girls' 16s Easter Bowl title in 2007 and, later that year, helped the U.S. capture the World Junior Tennis title (14-and-under international team competition).

The futures match has been an integral element of the BNP Paribas Showdown and has featured the top junior players in country, including Denis Kudla, from Arlington, Va., and Junior Ore, from  Gaithersburg, Md., who faced each other prior to the Roger Federer vs. Pete Sampras match in 2008. Last year Sloane Stephens of Lauderhill, Fla., was featured along with Brooklyn, NY's Gail Brodsky prior to the inaugural BNP Paribas Showdown for the Billie Jean King Cup.

The BNP Paribas Showdown for the Billie Jean King Cup is the featured element of the national USTA Tennis Night in America promotion. Through Tennis Night in America, the USTA will continue its efforts to grow youth participation in the sport of tennis. Tennis Night in America is among the sports largest ever grass roots initiatives. The USTA has made this event a major component for its Youth Registration Night, where youth from all over the country can begin signing up for spring and summer league play on Feb. 26 through March 1. To find a sign-up location please go to www.tennisnight.com.






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