Rain abbreviates 25th junior City Tournament

Amidst rain and delays, The Santa Barbara Tennis Patrons hosted its twenty-fifth annual City Tournament on January 22-23rd, drawing top juniors from around the nation and Southern California. Due to the amount of age divisions offered in the tournament as well as difficulties with the weather, only a few champions were crowned.

“We took too many entries this year, but we wanted to benefit the Santa Barbara juniors,” said CathyAnn Simon, Director of the Tennis Patrons. Many of the applicants are new to USTA open events, and if we limit the draws, a lot of local players wouldn’t be able to play, because their ranking wouldn’t be strong enough to get in.”

Girls 12-and-under finalists Kayla Day, left, and Sophie Whittle, right.

Last Friday, the No.1 nationally ranked junior in her age division, as well as a Santa Barbara local tennis star, Kayla Day captured the Girls 12s title from Sophia Whittle at the Tennis Club of Santa Barbara.

The nine year old breezed through her first two matches only dropping three games, before she met Jacqueline Pelletier, the No. 3 seed, in the semifinals.

Day came out strong winning the first set 7-5, but Pelletier came up with some great shots in the second set, forcing a ten-point tiebreaker. Despite her weak second set, Day fought back and ultimately won the match. Day had yet another third set match against Whittle in the finals with a final score of 6-2, 6-7, 6-2.


While Kayla Day had an outstanding tournament, she wasn’t the only Santa Barbara local to dominate in her division – Kate Stratman did as well.

In her first match playing in the 16s, the 13-year-old Stratman took out Fiona Bush of Newbury Park 6-2, 6-2. In her following matches, Stratman eliminated both the No. 3 seed Caitlyn Brown 6-2, 6-3 and the No. 2 seed Samantha Kogan 7-6, 3-2 (ret) in the quarterfinals. Stratman’s victory run came to an end when she fell to Honami Yazawa of Machido, Tokyo 6-1, 6-2 in the semis.

In the Girls 18s, Ariel Beckerman won her first three matches, including a three set win over Weil Academy player, Kirra Simonson. Beckerman dropped the first set 6-4, before coming back to win the second set 6-4, forcing a super tiebreaker. Beckerman came back again in the tiebreaker to win the match, sending her to the finals against Megan Sandford.

Unfortunately, due to the weather and court delays the two finalists may not have the opportunity to determine a Girls 18s champion.

“It’s just really disappointing because this is the first time that I have gotten to the finals, and now I might not even get to play them,” said Beckerman.

Beckerman and Sandford were not the only players who went home disappointed on Sunday; the delays denied other age divisions champions as well, including the Boys 12s, 14s, 16s, 18s, as well as the Girls 10s,14s, and 16s.

While Ariel Beckerman may have succeeded in her third set breaker, other Santa Barbara players Rachel Decker-Sadowski, Emily Baum, Grace Flintermann, and Taryn Mjelde, failed to move on into the further rounds due to the tiebreaker.

Rachel Decker-Sadowski, the No.1 seed in the Girls 18s as well as a standout player in Santa Barbara, had a close match with yet another Weil Academy player, Zeynep Mafa. Decker-Sadowski won the first set, before she went on to lose the second set as well as the deciding tiebreaker.

“While losing in your first round match is difficult, I have to look at the experience positively, and just acknowledge that I was having an off day,” said Decker-Sadowski, “now I have to focus on our designated tournament in Fullerton next weekend and just avoid making the same mistakes that I did in my match in Santa Barbara.”

While many champions were not crowned on January 23rd, Ethan Ha of Carpenteria won the Boys 8s division, and Michael Hale of Santa Barbara won the Boys 10s division.


The majority of the players in the Santa Barbara City Tournament are moving on to the sixty fifth annual Fullerton Designated Tournament beginning January 29th and going through February 8th.

“We played the matches we could play, and hopefully next year we will have more than three dry courts,” added Simon. “Additionally, the Tennis Patrons would like to thank the Tennis Club of Santa Barbara, La Cumbre Country Club, Knowlwood Tennis Club, and Montecito Country Club for opening their courts up to us, which made this tournament possible.”