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Isabella Xu

2021 U.S. Open – U15 Girls Teams

(By Isabella Xu)

This year’s U.S. Open from December 17-21 came with many ups and downs. For me and my U15 Girls Teams partner Hannah Song, we happened to end on a very good note. With it being the final day of the tournament, we had already experienced a lot of event and match delays, fatigue, and muscle soreness, and we were ready for it to all come to an end.
On the last day, Hannah and I had our U15 Girls Teams event. Despite living in different states, me being from North Carolina and Hannah from Texas, we happened to naturally be a pretty good doubles pair and were able to quickly adjust, work together, and make a good team. We had already played U15 Girls Doubles earlier in the tournament, so we knew how to make our doubles work.
In the morning, we defeated our first team relatively easily. Our next opponent was a strong, Canadian team. Although we had previously beaten this team in a close, doubles match, the singles matches would also be a big challenge. I had already lost to one of the girls earlier in a close, fifth-game match. It was decided that I would play that girl again for the first match. Hannah won her match, but I lost mine pretty badly. Extremely disappointed with my performance, I was not in a very good mood and had a loss of confidence in myself. However, I was able to quickly change my mindset and adjust in doubles with encouragement from Hannah. We won the doubles match, which led to Hannah playing the girl I lost to. Although it was a extremely close match, Hannah ended up losing to her. This meant that I would play the final match because our teams were tied 2-2. I lost the first game and didn’t have much confidence, as I felt like I wasn’t completely warmed up and had slow footwork. Before the next game, my coach told me to do high knees, and Hannah did them with me. After every game, Hannah and I would do high knees to help me stay warm and keep my feet moving. I ended up winning the match 3-1.
I’d love to say that I won solely because of doing high knees, but it was mostly because of my teammate’s tips for playing that particular opponent and her support. Her encouraging attitude had a positive influence on me and helped me to adjust and play better.
Hannah and I were pretty excited because we were in finals now! We watched the other semifinals match to see who we would be playing and how our opponents play. The team we would play in the finals seemed to be playing exceptionally well, as they had beaten one of the top-seeded teams earlier that day. I won my first match, but Hannah lost hers. Just like what had happened to me earlier, Hannah was disappointed over that loss. This time, it was my turn to support her and give her encouragement. We then won doubles 3-1, and Hannah adjusted really well and won the last singles match. We got first place and a gold medal for U15 Girls Teams!
In a ‘teams’ event, you typically aren’t just relying on your own, individual skills. Teamwork plays an important role too, especially during doubles. You have to be able to communicate well with your partner and help one another. This means that you support, give advice to, and encourage each other, as well as maintain a positive attitude. Big thank you to Hannah Song for being my awesome teammate!

Isabella Xu

Thank you to both of our parents and coaches for their hardwork and dedication! Huge thanks to my sponsor, Bowmar Sports, for their support!

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