Pictured is Kylie McKenzie, winner of the Girls’ 16s singles title at the USTA Girls’ 18s & 16s National Championships.

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Local teen brings home championship tennis title

Staff Report~ 8/27/2014

ANTHEM – Fifteen-year-old Anthem resident Kylie McKenzie took home the Girls’ 16s singles title at the USTA Girls’ 18s & 16s National Championships in San Diego this month.

Ninth-seeded McKenzie surprised second-seeded Kayla Day of Santa Barbara, Calif., 6-1, 6-4, winning the Girls’ 16s singles title. McKenzie played aggressively, taking the first set 6-1 and took a 3-0 second set lead. However, Day mounted a comeback and won four of the next six games.

As McKenzie served for the match at 5-4, she fell behind 15-40, but fought off five break points in a long game that went to deuce five times. McKenzie eventually reached her fourth match point with a down the line backhand winner and won the match on the next point with a forehand winner.

 “I knew I was playing well coming into this tournament. This tournament was my goal. I really wanted to play well. I came out so focused. I’ve improved a lot lately,” McKenzie said. “Coming out today, I knew what I need to do. I kept to the game plan and I just played my game.”

McKenzie earned a wild card into the US Open Girls’ main draw in New York and will be making her first career appearance in a Grand Slam event.

“It’s going to be my first, so it’s a big deal to me. All the hard work has paid off. I’m so excited. It’s going to be an amazing experience,” she said.