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Young Talent Shines at 12s/14s 2024 Bobby Curtis Junior State Championships

The USTA National Campus was the perfect setting as top junior athletes gathered for the 2024 Bobby Curtis Bobby Curtis Junior State Championships in the Boys’ and Girls’ 12s & 14s.  

The Bobby Curtis tournament is one of the most prestigious events in the entire state, as only Florida players are eligible to compete. Many winners and participants have gone on to have successful careers in the pro tour. 

This time around, it was the 12 and Under as well as the 14 and Under divisions that were in play, as some of the rising stars of Florida tennis were putting on a great show throughout the week of competition.  

There were four first-time champions crowned, let’s see who they are, what their road to success looked like, and other top competitors from the tournament. 

Boys’ 12s 

Dmitriy Flyam (Left), Elias Harris (Right)

The Boys’ 12s showed what Florida tennis is all about and that the future of tennis is definitely in good hands. Everyone played with grit and heart, leaving everything on the courts. 

Elias Harris had a strong run to the finals, winning his first two matches without dropping a game. In the quarterfinals, he ran into Patrick Paun (Hallandale Beach), who was playing strong tennis too. The two clashed, in a thrill three-set match. Elias jumped out early with a 6-4 opening set win, but Partick fought back taking the next one 7-5. This forced a 10-pint tiebreaker set, where the two started off trading points. In the end, Elias hit his stride and took the match. Elias rode that momentum for a dominant semifinal win over David Bender (Indian Harbour Beach) to secure a spot in the finals 

On the other end of the draw, Dmitriy Flyam started off his campaign in a great way. He won his first three matches with ease, only winning all but one set by more than four games. Dmitiry rode that momentum into the quarterfinals, where he put up a very strong performance against Tomas Gudia (Kissimmee) in a two-set win. This set him up with Selwyn Olufemi-Owoeye (Boca Raton) in the semifinals. Dmitiry, who hadn’t dropped a set all week long, kept that energy going and took the win in an extremely close match, winning 6-4, 6-4. This would set him up with Elias for the championship. 

In the finals, Elias and Dmitriy left everything they had left on the court. After playing nearly flawless tennis throughout the event, something had to give. The first set was back and forth, but eventually, Elias found a break and took it 6-4. Elias carried that into the next set and won it 6-1, becoming a Bobby Curits Champion. 

Championship: Elias Harris (Pembroke Pines) d. Dmitriy Flyam (Hallandale Beach) 6-4, 6-1 

Third Place: David Bender (Indian Harbour Beach) 

Fourth Place: Selwyn Olufemi-Owoeye (Boca Raton) 

Fifth Place: Michael Rybak (Palm Coast) 

Sixth Place: Oliver Zinaja (Bradenton) 

Consolation Winner: Tajesh Reddy Bomma (Wesley Chapel)

Girls’ 12s 

Much like the Boys’ the future of Florida Girls’ tennis is in the right hands as these junior athletes proved they are the best of the best. 

Christina Li got things going early, sweeping her first two matches and winning her third match, dropping just three games. The young prodigy was at the top of her game and carried that into the quarterfinals where she defeated Isla Amos (Melbourne) to reach the semifinals. Here, she matched up against Adelina Iftime (Orlando), who also has been extremely impressive up to this point, as she hadn’t dropped a set in the week. This clash was back-and-forth, as expected. Playing for a spot in the finals, Christina got going early, finding a break and taking the set 6-3. However, Adelina fired right back with a break and a 6-3 set win of her own. This forced a 10-point tiebreaker, where the girls were battling. Points were traded on each serve with a lead change throughout, but Christina was able to find a few in a row and take in by just two points.  

Over on the other side, Violeta Pisarczyk was putting on a great performance. In her first few matches, Violeta looked super strong as she swept three of her six sets that she won across that span. In the quarterfinals, she carried that over and swept the opening set and took the next one with ease. This set up a clash against Alsia Shifrin (Boca Raton), who had been clutch all tournament long. In two of her first four matches, Alsia won in a third-set tiebreaker. This match was intense as both girls were battling for their spot in the Bobby Curtis Championship. Violeta took the first set in a 6-4 fashion, but Alsia battled right back winning 6-3 and playing in her third 10-point tiebreaker of the week. It was back-and-forth, with neither girl giving an inch. As points were traded off, Violeta found a couple in a row and took it by just two points. 

The championship was set as Violeta and Christina were ready to leave everything on the court. Violeta got the scoring going early and jumped out with the first set, but that didn’t rattle Christina as she answered right back with a set win of her own. The match would come down to a 10-point tiebreaker. Fresh off the second set win, Christina was in top form and took the tiebreaker 10-3 to capture the Bobby Curtis Championship. 

Championship: Christina Li (Bradenton) d. Violeta Pisarczyk (Sunrise) 4-6, 6-2, 10-3 

Third Place: Adelina Iftime (Orlando) 

Fourth Place: Alsia Shifrin (Boca Raton) 

Fifth Place: Isla Amos (Melbourne)  

Sixth Place: Aimee Peng (Bradenton) 

Consolation Winner: Arianne James (Sunrise)

Boys’ 14s 

Paul Bower (Left), Mikaeel Alibaig (Right)

The 14s division is one of the best to watch unfold as many of these players are entering extremely important years of their careers. They are about a year into high school and trying to turn the eyes of colleges onto them. All the athletes gave 110% effort on the courts as the matches unfolded. 

Mikaeel Alibaig, the top seed, was playing up to his rank. Across his first three matches, Mikaeel dominated the opposition, winning 36 of 44 games that he played in his six sets. He remained the top foe in the quarterfinals, as he took a rather convincing match 6-2, 6-1. In the semifinals, Mikaeel matched up with William Vainionpaa (Orlando), who was fresh off an intense three-set win. The two battled, but ultimately, it was Mikaeel at the top of his game, as he continued his hot streak, winning 6-3, 6-1. 

On the other side, Paul Bower looked to put a stop to Mikaeel. Paul was on his A-game. Through his first three matches, he didn’t lose a set and won 36 of his 48 games played. However, he was tested in the quarterfinals as Elliott Awomoyi (Pembroke Pines), was determined to continue his strong run in the tournament. Elliott got it started with a near-perfect opening set, winning 6-1. Unphased, Paul responded with a great second set, taking it 6-4 and forcing the 10-point tiebreaker. Paul rode his momentum from the previous set and got hot at the right time, winning 10-5. He kept his level of play up and took down Satvik Santosh (Orlando), in the semifinals 6-1, 6-4. 

With the championship set between Mikaeel and Paul, it was a great match with the two best giving their all. The first set was a fight, as the two wouldn’t give a break. But, Mikaeel found a late break and closed out the first set 7-5. He carried that into the second set and clinched the title, winning 6-3. On the weekend Mikaeel won 73 out of 96 games in 12 sets played. 

Championship: Mikaeel Alibaig (Boca Raton) d. Paul Bower (Coral Springs) 7-5, 6-3 

Third Place: Satvik Santosh (Orlando) 

Fourth Place: William Vainionpaa (Orlando)  

Fifth Place: Juan Benito (Weston)  

Sixth Place: Elliott Awomoyi (Pembroke Pines) 

Consolation Winner: Dylan Remedios (Miami)

Girls’ 14s 

Melanie Constandache (Left), Michelle Flyam (Right)

Michelle Flyam went on an extremely dominant run throughout the week. In her first three matches, Michelle was playing perfect tennis. The top seed ran through her opponents, dropping just 4 games in six sets. She kept that hot streak going into the quarterfinals as she closed out a strong 6-1, 6-2 win. The semifinal was the first match where she was truly tested. Matching up against Audrey Dussault (Kissimmee), the two girls battled it out on the court. It was a contested opening set as the two were trading games, before Michelle got a break and won 6-4. She rode that momentum into the next set and took it 6-2, to advance to finals and try to complete one of the best runs in recent years for the 14s. 

Her opponent, however, wouldn’t be an easy foe. Melanie Constandache was destined to make a run in the tournament and turn the attention toward her. Things got going quickly for Melanie as she found herself in a close opening match. Julia Chesman (Port Saint Lucie) pushed Melaine to a tiebreaker in the first set but fell just short. Melanie closed out the second set, taking the match 7-6, 6-3. Melanie would dominate her next two matches and face off against Anastasiya Muravia (Boynton Beach) in the quarterfinals. This was an intense three-set match, where the two girls were playing great tennis. It was back-and-forth in the tiebreaker, but Melani took a few in a row and won by three points. She carried that win into the semifinal match against Braylen Michelsen (Fort Myers) and won 6-4, 6-2. 

The championship was set with Michelle and Melanie, the final two players. Michelle, who was riding a hot hand all week long, continued that level of play. She jumped out in the opening set with a break and took it 6-3. She closed out the match with a 6-2 win and was crowned Bobby Curits Champion. On the weekend Michelle won 72 of 90 games across twelve sets, one of the best runs in recent years. 

Championship: Michelle Flyam (Hallandale Beach) d. Melanie Constandache (Coconut Creek) 6-3, 6-2 

Third Place: Braylen Michelsen (Fort Myers) 

Fourth Place: Audrey Dussault (Kissimmee) 

Fifth Place: Anastasiya Muravia (Boynton Beach)  

Sixth Place: Charlotte Ballarin (Boca Raton) 

Consolation Winner: Adriana Khomyakova (Port Saint Lucie)

By ML Staff. Content/Image courtesy by Jaret Kappelman, Marketing & Communications Coordinator for USTA Florida.


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