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Clay Court Championship Week
Christine Inah Canete Takes Girl's 14 Clays

Nobody had to light a fire under 12-year old, Christine Inah Canete, this week at the USTA National Girls' 14s Clay Court Championships in Plantation, Fla., at the Frank Veltri Tennis Center as there was enough "fire talk" for everyone as play wrapped up.

Singles champion Christine Inah Canete
Canete, the younger sister to Mae Fmar Canete, the 14-year old top seed, rolled through Ellie Coleman of Midland, Mich. in Saturday's singles final, 6-1; 6-1. It capped off a busy week of tennis, but also a busy week of being in "survival mode" at the Vetri Tennis Center, which also houses the Nick Saviano High Performance Tennis Academy. An electrical fire ripped through the tennis offices on Tuesday evening, which caused a few doubles matches in progress to move because of smoke.

A fleet of Plantation Fire Department trucks were called to the scene to put out the fires. Fortunately, there were no injuries, but there was damage and cleanup necessary, so there was a slight delay to matches on Wednesday. Wednesday morning matches were delayed an hour as more cleanup was needed.

"We had tremendous response from the city and fire department," stated Lowell Coffman, tournament director and Assistant Director of Tennis at the Veltri Tennis Center. "We got hooked up with bathrooms we could use and stayed on schedule."

The ninth seeded Canete didn't seem to be bothered by anything all week as she dropped just one set in seven matches, an opening set to Yashna Yellayi of Williamsville, New York, in the quarters.

"I'm so happy I won," said the younger of the Canete Sisters. "Coming into this week, I'd been making a lot of mistakes. I started drop shotting a lot this week since my opponents were standing far behind the baseline, and they couldn't get to them."

Canete said that was the advice given to her by her father and coach, Ferdinand. Ferdinand teaches tennis and works with his daughters on the public courts at the Penmar Recreation Center in Los Angeles. Penmar is known for being in between Santa Monica College and Venice Beach. This is the second national championship won by Canete in 2016. Back in January, she was victorious at the USTA National Winter Championships in the 12s.

The drop shot strategy worked throughout the week for Canete, including her three-set match in the quarters where a drop shot and lob combination took its toll on her opponent.

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Page updated on Monday, March 11, 2019
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