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Winter Nationals Week
Top-seeded Choy Wins Girls 16s Winter Nationals

Sara Choy may be small in stature, but her game is quite big.

Girls 16s Champion Sara Choy
© Shelby Payne, USTA Central Arizona
The diminutive, 4-foot-11 inch, 100-pounder won her first gold ball on Saturday in the USTA Winter National Championship in Scottsdale, Arizona with a comfortable 6-4; 6-4 win over Hannah Zhao in the Girls 16s singles final.

Despite giving up seven inches to her opponent, the top-seeded Choy, 15, of Palo Alto, dispatched fellow Californian Zhao, also 15, of San Diego, the second seed, at Scottsdale Ranch Park in just over two hours.

"Since I am pretty small, I call myself a counter puncher," Choy said. "Even when they hit it pretty hard, I would return it back pretty deep and neutralize the point.

"I think those who have not played me yet judge me by my size and they think sometimes that it will be an easy match, or that they can overpower me," Choy said. "I actually kind of like that because I go in as the underdog basically."

It was Choy's fourth consecutive tournament victory following a Girls 18s USTA National Selection tournament in Irvine in November; Girls 16s USTA National Selection tournament in Stockton in October; and the Eve Zimmerman Sweet Sixteen USTA National Tournament in Stanford in September.

This was the fourth meeting between the two. Zhao defeated Choy in the 12s and 14s on Clay and the pair met in the Sweet Sixteen tournament where Choy scored a 6-3; 6-4 quarterfinal win.

"Today was pretty windy, and I knew I couldn't aim for the lines because that would be pretty risky," Choy said following the match. "I was going for an area so I would have my margins and tried to move her from side to side. I also tried mixing in some shots - like slices and hitting some angles - to move her and get her out of her comfort zone."

Choy trailed 3-2 in the first set before rallying to win the first set 6-4. She lost the first game of the second set before winning the next two games to take a 2-1 lead. Zhao tied the match at 2-2 before Choy went up 5-2 and had two match points at 40-15 before faltering slightly.

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Page updated on Monday, March 09, 2020
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