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Payne Captures First Gold Ball By Winning Girls 12s
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Bella Payne of Taylors, South Carolina, brought home the singles gold ball, while New Yorker’s Claire An and Caitlin Bui emerged as the doubles champs at the USTA Girls 12 National Clay Court Championships in Boca Raton, Florida.

Singles Champion Bella Payne

The second-seeded Payne defeated top seed Emily Deming of Fallbrook, California, 6-4, 6-2 in the singles final. The third-seeded duo of An and Bui claimed the doubles prize with a 6-3, 6-4 decision over the fourth-seeded team of Deming and Alyssa Ahn of San Diego, California.

Payne won her first USTA gold ball and dropped only one set in the event at the Polo Club at Boca Raton, going three sets with the 15th-seeded Ahn in the Round of 16. The eventual champion advanced to the finals with a 6-3, 7-5 win over seventh-seeded Brooke Wrigley of Bluffton, South Carolina, in the semifinals.

“My determination and backhand slice got me through the tournament,” Payne said. “It meant a lot to me to win my first gold ball.”

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