Williams claims gold, bronze at PNWs [Tennis]

August 18, 2013

Whitney Williams

Teenage tennis whiz Whitney Williams of Anchorage had the perfect ending to her two-month summer tour around the county

The 17-year-old won a pair of medals in the U18 division at this weekend’s USTA Pacific Northwest Junior Sectional Championships in Beaverton, Ore., teaming with partner Samantha Hampton of Vancouver, Wash., to win the doubles title and scoring an upset in the third-place singles match.

She was already the best player in Alaska. Now she’s one of the best in the entire region.

“It meant a lot because I dedicated the match to my friend who was in a car accident,” Williams told me.

The Pacific Northwest Championships was the last stop on a busy summer tour for Williams, who had traveled the country with her mother, Stephanie, since the middle of June.

Williams, of South High fame, played in many marquee events in the last two months like the Sectional National Tournament in Dallas, Super Clays in Memphis, National Team Tournament in Claremont, Calif., and the Super Hard Courts in San Diego. She even got to meet the legendary Billie Jean King.

Williams saved her best performance for her last tournament.

In doubles, Williams and Hampton came into this tournament seeded No. 1. They went 4-0 this weekend, beating the No. 2 team of Erin Larner and Sabrina Demerath in an 8-6 pro set, avenging a loss to the pair earlier this summer.

Williams and Hampton led 7-2 before seeing their lead shrink to 7-6.

“Playing those girls, it was really tough because we had lost to them before, and we shouldn’t have because we were up so much, so my partner and I were really craving to beat them,” Williams said. “We were really determined to beat them this time.”

In singles, the No. 5 seeded Alaskan finished with a 4-1 record and beat No. 3 Michelle Lui 6-2, 2-6, 10-5 in the third-place match after losing to the No. 2 seed in the semifinals.

It was her first win over Lui in four career meetings.

“This was the first time we played outdoors,” Williams said. “I think the pressure does bring out the best in me. It did this weekend anyway, because I just think it boiled down to who wanted it more.”