Tennis: Neel, partner eliminated at U.S. Open Junior
FLUSHING MEADOWS, N.Y. – It was evident right away just how much Ingrid Neel and her doubles partner in the U.S. Open Junior Championships learned by playing in the main draw of the women’s U.S. Open last week.
FLUSHING MEADOWS, N.Y. – It was evident right away just how much Ingrid Neel and her doubles partner in the U.S. Open Junior Championships learned by playing in the main draw of the women's U.S. Open last week.
A 17-year-old from Rochester, Neel and Tornado Black were granted a wild card into the women's event because they captured the USTA Hardcourt Nationals last month in San Diego. They took advantage of the wild card, winning a round, and then taking a set off the No. 7-seeded team at the Open, essentially the seventh best team in the world, before falling in three sets.
They followed that up with a dominating 6-1, 6-0, in the junior doubles first round on Tuesday at the year's final Grand Slam being played at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.
"I learned a lot last week," said Neel, who now resides in Bradenton, Fla., and trains at the IMG Academy. "The women are super aggressive at the net. I'm trying to incorporate some of the things I've learned out there. The pros are just so much better and they hit a ton harder. I just want to take some tips from them, and hope to be as good as they are someday."
In the second round on Wednesday in the juniors, Need and Black were eliminated by Great Britain's Emily Arbuthnott and Denmark's Emilie Francati, 7-5, 6-3.
Neel, who lost in the first round of singles in the juniors on Monday, said she wasn't that nervous playing in the women's event. "It was jam-packed and we felt the energy," Neel said. "I got pretty much all my nerves out in the first set of the first round."
Neel is originally from New York, and her parents have moved to Florida to be closer to her, although she still enjoys visiting Rochester. "My grandparents are still there," Neel said. "I spent two weeks there over the summer and will be back for Thanksgiving."
Neel has committed to play at the University of Florida in the spring of 2017, which means she has another year and a half of training in Florida. "I hope to continue my game and get better, and go on the (WTA) tour when I'm ready," she said. "It's been my dream to be a pro since I was a little girl, so I hope to be able to do that."