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Clay Court Championship Week
Wen Takes Title at Boys 12 Clay Courts
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MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. - Top-seeded Evan Wen of Morristown, N.J., took home the singles gold ball of the USTA Boys 12 National Clay Court Championships on July 23 at the LTP Tennis and Swim Club.

Singles champion Evan Wen
photo by James Beck, jamesbecktennis@gmail.com
Sporting a No. 12 ranking on the Head Class Rankings List, Wen's stomach acted up in his quarterfinal match with 16th-seeded Ryan Colby of Alexandria, Va. But the tenacious Wen prevailed and won the match 6-4, 7-6. Next up was an appointment with his doubles partner, fourth-seeded Phillip Deaton of Auburn, Wash. A hard-fought 6-2, 1-6, 6-2 semifinals decision propelled Wen to the championship tilt.

In the championship match, Wen came up against sixth-seeded Victor Lilov of Raleigh, N.C. Lilov knocked off four seeded players on his way to the final. Lilov, ranked 16th nationally, defeated 14th-seeded Kian Vakili (Longwood, Fla.) 6-1, 2-6, 6-2 in the quarterfinals. His 6-1, 6-2 victory over third-seeded Jack Anthrop (Orlando, Fla.) set up the championship showdown with Wen.

The final match was an instant classic. Things were dicey for Wen early in the match, as Lilov took the first set 6-3.

"When I lost that first set, I told myself I probably want this win more than he does," said the 5-Star seventh-grader. "If wanted to pull out the win for everybody I know. I remember what my coach told me - don't go for too much, just hit very smart shots. I thought that if I could keep hitting rally balls, [I could force Lilov] to defend the whole time."

The strategy paid off for Wen, and more than two hours after it began, Wen emerged with a 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 victory.

Wen's coach is Clay Bibbee, the CEO and founder of Centercourt Athletic Clubs. The new singles champion also attends school at the Centercourt Academy, in Morristown.

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