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February 14U Boys Tennis Rankings

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(Youth1 Tennis) – Since our last 14U Boys Tennis Rankings were released in December, there have been two major tournaments on the junior schedule. The Junior Orange Bowl in Bradenton, Florida and the USTA National Winter Championships in Tucson, Arizona attracted most of the top 14U tennis players in the world.

Certain athletes are missing from our rankings because in order for a player to make the Top 10 National Rankings, he has to be eligible for the USTA’s B14 overall points.

Here are the Top-10 ranked 14U male tennis players in the nation based upon recent play, USTA eligibility, head-to-head records, and tournament results.

 #10 Nathan Perrone (New Jersey) 8th Grade

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Perrone cracks the Top 10 this month on the strength of performances in both singles and doubles. His best overall showing came at the USTA National Winter Championships. In singles, Perrone won four matches in a row and won a Round of 16 contest against Sebastian Mermersky, 6-1; 6-2. In doubles, Perrone partnered with Zeke Clark to advance to the finals after five straight victories at the same event. His overall record in USTA matches is 98-42.

#9 Lane Leschly (California) Freshman
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Leschly is another well-deserved player to make it into the rankings this month. At the Junior Orange Bowl, the Californian went 3-2 overall, including a victory over the highly-regarded Nathan Perrone, 6-2; 6-1. While Leschly did not participate in the Winter Championships, he did play in a few regional tournaments in the B16 divisions with solid results. At the SSRC Junior Excellence in California, Leschly went 2-2 and won a marathon three-setter against Eric Dennis, 6-3; 1-6; 10-7. He is 72-39.

 #8 Justin C. Lee (Connecticut) 8th Grade
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Lee has been playing a lot of tennis recently, and the results are good enough to make him the third-straight newcomer to the Top 10. He finished third in both the singles and doubles draws at the USTA National Winter Championships. In singles, he lost to eventual champion John McNally in the quarterfinals, but rebounded to win the consolation semifinals and finals against Nathan Perrone (7-6(5); 6-1) and Noah Makarome (6-1; 6-2). His doubles team with Jacob Brumm was 5-1 overall.

Most recently at a USTA B16 Glen Cove (NY) Regional, Lee dropped his first match but roared back to take the next five to claim third once again. He has 85 USTA victories in his career.

#7 Connor Hance (California) 8th Grade
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Hance has two notable results since the last rankings. He came in second at the USTA B16 Palm Desert Regional and is currently advancing in the Fullerton (CA) Junior Tournament. At the USTA Regional, Hance beat Brandon Yeoh 1-6; 6-4; 6-4 in the quarterfinals and Andy Zhou 6-4; 6-3 in the semis. The 8th grader is competing in the Round of 16 at the Fullerton Tournament at time of publication after beating Riley Smith 6-4; 7-5 in the Boys 16 division. He is 79-30 overall.

#6 Gianni Ross (Illinois) 8th Grade
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Ross took some time off after his Junior Orange Bowl appearance where he went 2-2 with wins over Camilo Ponce and Pietro Rimondini. His most recent tournament play came on January 21 at the Les Petit As in France. On the indoor hard courts, Ross won his first three matches against Austrian, German, and Russian players showing he has a game that can travel. In the Round of 16, he beat Filipp Klimov (RUS) 6-4; 6-4. Ross, one of the best players in the Midwest, has an 83-42 USTA match record.

 #5 Evan Zhu (Maryland) Freshman
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Zhu has experienced his most recent success at the USTA/MAS B16 Championship and the USTA B16 Norcross (GA) Regional, winning both events. In the 32-player field at the MAS Championship, Zhu won five consecutive matches including a final victory over Dennis Wang (6-4; 6-2). His most impressive win came against William Howells in the semifinals, 6-3; 7-5.

At the Georgia regional, Zhu survived two three-set matches to take the trophy. He earned 200 USTA points by beating Abhin Sharma 2-6; 6-3; 6-4 in the championship. Zhu has one of the highest win totals on the junior circuit with 109.

 #4 Hady Habib (California) Freshman
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Habib is one of a few players who have been picking up his game as of late. The Californian had a nice showing at the Junior Orange Bowl, going 5-2 overall with a win against Gianni Ross. More impressively, Habib went 6-1 at the USTA National Winter Championships and took home third place. He lost to eventual winner John McNally in the semifinals, but beat top players along the way like Andrew Fenty, Nathan Perrone, and Conrad Russell. For third place, Habib beat Liam Caruana 6-3; 7-5. Most recently, Habib won the B16 Fullerton Junior Tournament, 6-1; 6-1 over Derek Chen in the final. His 98-32 win/loss differential in USTA events reflects his talent level. 

 #3 Zeke Clark (Oklahoma) Freshman
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Clark lost to eventual champion Michael Mmoh in the Junior Orange Bowl quarterfinals, but gutted out a three-set victory over Evan Zhu in the third round, 2-6; 6-1; 7-5. Clark came in second at the USTA National Winter Championships in both singles and doubles.

With partner Nathan Perrone, the pair won five straight matches to reach the championship round. In the singles draw, Clark cruised through the first six matches not losing a single set and not dropping more than three games in any set. After not appearing in the last edition of rankings, Clark has certainly shot up the various tennis leaderboards.

#2 Nathan Ponwith (Arizona) Freshman
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Ponwith was ranked No. 7 last time, but his Junior Orange Bowl and head-to-head results helped him move up. After playing in the B16 draw of the Junior Orange Bowl, Ponwith waited a few days and entered the B14 field as well. He won five matches in a row before losing to eventual champ Michael Mmoh.

Ponwith also advanced through the first three rounds of the Winter Championships, beating Steven Chen 3-6; 6-1; 6-0 in the third round. Ponwith has over 80 USTA victories against just 39 defeats, some of which coming against older competition.

#1 John McNally (Ohio) 8th Grade
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McNally goes from being No. 8, to the top dog in this month’s rankings thanks to his three championships. At the USTA National Winter Championships, McNally won both the singles and doubles. In singles, McNally won seven straight matches against top competition like Gui Gomes, Justin Lee, Hady Habib, and Zeke Clark. McNally and partner Liam Caruana went 6-0 and beat Clark/Perrone in the doubles finals 6-2; 6-4.

After his success at the Winter Championships, McNally backed up his performances at the Midwest Level Two B16 January Designated Series, winning there as well. In the finals, McNally beat Connor Johnston 6-4; 7-6(10) to extend his recent winning streak and firmly plant him on top of the Youth1 February 14U Boys Tennis Rankings.


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By: Zach O'Connor-Robol
Youth1.com

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