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Bangoura Wins USTA National Event

January 4, 2008 09:45 AM

By MIKE HENRY of the Bradenton Herald
Posted on Friday, January 04, 2008

Among the nation's top junior tennis players, Out-of-Door Academy junior Sekou Bangoura Jr. stands out for his proficiency in golf, chess and as a pianist.

After the U.S. Tennis Association Winter Super Nationals in Scottsdale, Ariz., his biggest claim to fame is being a national champion.

The 16-year-old Bangoura brought home coveted gold balls awarded to USTA national champs in singles and doubles. The No. 1 seed swept seven singles matches in the 128-player draw without losing a set, defeating Daniel Ho of Los Angeles 6-0, 6-1 in Tuesday's Boys 16 final.

Later that day, Bangoura teamed with Nelson Vick of Grafton, Wis., for a 6-4, 6-1 doubles victory against Kurthan Anbarci and Christopher Jackman of Miami.

"A lot of kids in the nation strive for a gold ball trophy, so it is really nice to win them," said Bangoura, who finished second last month in the Boys 16 Division of the Eddie Herr International at the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy. "I might take them to school. I haven't thought about that yet."

Bangoura's coach, dad Sekou Sr., said getting to the final of the Eddie Herr had "Junior" well prepared for all challenges on the hard courts in Scottsdale.

"His serve and the speed of his shots have improved, and now he is able to handle an opponent's power and speed without much problem," Bangoura Sr. said. "The last two months, you can see his maturity physically, mentally and technically."

Bangoura Sr. also credited Bollettieri's work as a consultant.

"We've had very good support from Nick and the academy," he said.

Anyone who watched Bangoura at the Eddie Herr realizes he was not fazed by being the No. 1 seed.

"I went in thinking (Winter Super Nationals) was a normal tournament," Junior said. "There can be a lot of pressure as the No. 1 seed, but if you let it get to you, that is how you go down. So I played my game and played within myself."

Junior said his toughest singles match was his 7-6 (3), 6-4 victory against Gregory Andrews of Kalamazoo, Mich., in the quarterfinals.

"Both of us were hitting heavy balls and grinding it, and we each held serve until the tiebreaker. I think a little fatigue got in there for him, and in the second set I broke him early and was able to close it out," Junior said.

*For more information about The USTA Winter National Championships, December 27, 2007 - January 1, 2008, visit TennisRecruiting.net! 






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