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Championship Week
Saud Alhogbani Wins Second Consecutive Gold

Saud Alhogbani's strategy in every tennis match is simple: give each point 100 percent, try to get everything back in play, and be aggressive when the opportunity arises.

Singles champion Saud Alhogbani
His superb execution of this approach has earned the Blue Chip athlete from Alexandria, Virginia, the singles gold ball at the 2015 Boys 12s National Hard Court Championships in North Little Rock, Arkansas.

He beat the number five seed Benjamin Kittay of Potomac, Maryland 6-3, 6-0.

Alhogbani's 12s record remains unblemished since his quarterfinals loss at the 2014 Orange Bowl. In that tournament, he beat Eddie Herr champion and number one seed Jungwon Park in the Round of 16.

At Burns Park Tennis Center in North Little Rock, third seed Alhogbani settled his nerves in the finals match by telling himself that he had a slight advantage over his opponent. He had been in the singles final only three weeks ago at the Clay Court Championships, and in that tournament, Alhogbani, seeded 12th, walked away with the gold ball without losing a set.

Even so, he knew from their previous eight encounters that Kittay was not to be taken lightly. After all, Kittay had defeated Alhogbani in the doubles finals the previous day.

"He's a really good player," said the rising seventh grader. "I knew it would be tough to break him down mentally and physically, but I just told myself to stay in there and see what happens."

"Saud played a very smart match," said Tournament Director Cindy Curtis.

Coach Frank Salazar, senior director at the Junior Tennis Champions Center in College Park, Maryland, echoes the sentiment about Alhogbani's mental game, saying, "Saud competes well and has intangibles to find ways to win. He is very mature for his age and is a problem-solver on court."

At 4-3 in the first set, the champion stepped up his game another notch and never looked back, winning the next eight games. He displayed power, finesse and speed, a gift that the five-foot-ten champion appreciates.

"A lot of tall players don't move that fast, and that's a really big advantage for me," he said. His height also allowed him to hold his serve with ease, losing only one service game in seven matches.

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Page updated on Monday, March 11, 2019
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