Re: Maria Shishkina
PLANTATION — In a contentious match filled with dramatic twists and turns that was completed seconds before a rainstorm hit, it seemed fitting an emotionally charged preteen named Tornado would prevail in a final between two of the nation's top 12-year-old tennis players.
Tornado Ali Black held back tears after blowing a 4-2, 40-30 lead in the second set and had to save a match point before regaining her composure en route to a 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (4) victory over 14th-seeded Maria Shishkina to win the USTA Girls' 14s National Clay Court Championships at the Veltri Tennis Center on Sunday.
"I had an attitude problem after the second set but I was thinking I'm not going to let her win,'' said a beaming Black, who avenged a lopsided loss to Shishkina in the 12s final of the Eddie Herr International in November and is in the process of turning pro.
Black, who used to practice with Shishkina at IMG Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Bradenton, is working with Rick Macci at his Boca Lago academy where he's rebuilding her serve. She needed a wild card to get into the draw because she missed about six months while searching for the proper orthotics