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Day 2 - USTA Boys’ & Girls’ 12 Spring National Championships

April 9, 2008 10:19 AM

Day 2—Devilish tenacity, Angelic ability and Supernatural athleticism—12s Spring Nationals

By Marlena Hall

Delray Beach, Fla., April 7, 2008 — As her name might suggest, the meditative cloud surrounding Angel Deng (Safety Harbor, FL) transmits inner serenity into on-court celestial dominion. Born close to Christmas, Deng's parents captured the spirituality of the season into the nomenclature of their daughter, Angel. But little did they know that 12 years later, on the 7th day in the month of Spring, she would capture the Day 2 upset against the 2nd seed in the Sea Island presents USTA Boys' & Girls' 12 Spring National Championships hosted by the City of Delray Beach (April 6-12, 2008). Watching Deng play Julianna Cardi (2) (Lexington, KY), it was difficult to judge the score by the nature of both players' attitudes. Early on, Cardi appeared to "look" the part of a top ranked player in a National event; she possessed the confidence, agility and calm under the pressure packed points, even when she was down. Eventually, however, the idea that she might lose to a player ranked 139 spots higher than her, cracked Cardi's composure. Angel Deng was after all, the 'small fry' next to the Colonel Kentuckian. "No one expected me to win," Deng said, "but I knew after warm up that I had a good shot to succeed." And from Deng's 'great unexpectations', she went on to capture the first set, 6-2. Second set was a different scenario. Her opponent put all her cards on the table and won the first two games. Cardi might have liked to keep her momentum going, but the electricity in the skies was not going to have it. 
As the match reconvened Monday morning, Cardi danced as though the music never stopped and won four consecutive games. But as both players approached the brink of the 3rd set, Deng imagined how her icon, world ranked #1 Justine Henin, would cope under the circumstance. As she murmured the mantra of quiet melody, Deng orchestrated a third set harmonic symphony—6-2, 0-6, 6-3. Whether #247 ranked and non-seeded or #8 ranked and #2 seeded, a great temper and sound mind will affect even a tennis maestro. Welcome to Nationals—where only the best of the best compete. For your Day 2 masterpiece we'd like to award the humble goddess, Angel Deng as our Day 2 Girls' Player of the Day!

As I began to concoct a Day 2 boys' "Player of the Day", I found myself in quite a pickle… A four hour battle, a three set match, fought between two great opponents, emitting one gentlemanly countenance, tallying zero 'bad lines calls'…which player would you pick? The winner because he won? or the loser who gave it his all? I decided to go with my retail philosophy: "When in doubt, get them both." For Anudeep Kodali (Raleigh, NC) and Kevin "Gentle As A" Lam (Absecon, NJ) we'd like to award good sportsmanship and hard-fought play as deserving of our Day 2 gentlemen "Players of the Day"!
Don't miss this rare, exciting and FREE opportunity to see tomorrow's stars that will carry the tennis torch when passed on from Andy, James, Serena and Venus, all players who have taken the USTA National road to their success. Girls' matches start at 8:45 AM at the Delray Swim & Tennis Club (2350 Jaeger Dr., Delray Beach) while the boys' matches start at 9:15 AM at the Swim & Racquet Center (21626 St. Andrews, Boca Raton) and 11:45 AM Boca West Country Club (20583 Boca West Dr., Boca Raton).

A USTA National Championship






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