Kayla Day of Santa Barbara capped a brilliant run in the U.S. Open tennis championships by winning her first Grand Slam title on Sunday, September 11, in New York City. The No. 5-seeded Day defeated No. 13 Viktoria Kuzmova of Slovakia, 6-3, 6-2, in the junior girls singles final on the Grandstand Court.
In her post-match press conference, Day was notified that she would be the new International Tennis Federation No. 1 world-ranked junior girls player.
Day, 16, began the tournament as the youngest player in the women’s singles main draw. She defeated Madison Brengle in the first round before losing to No. 8-seeded Madison Keys.
In the junior girls competition, Day played 11 matches, six in singles and five in doubles with partner Caroline Dolehide. They lost the doubles final Saturday night in a tiebreaker, after Day had prevailed in her singles semifinal, a tough three-setter over Biana Vanessa Andreescu of Canada.
The left-hander dominated the final, whipping an ace serve past Kuzmova at match point.
“These were like the best two weeks of my life,” Day said. “Every day was great. I had so much fun every single day, and it was just a great experience overall.”
Day became only the seventh American girl to win the U.S. Open Junior singles title since Lindsay Davenport in 1992. She is the first American to win since Samantha Crawford in 2012. She is the third Santa Barbara junior to win a U.S. Open singles title, joining boys champions Mike Falberg (1980) and Tim Trigueiro (1985). All three were initially coached by hometown teaching pro Larry Mousouris.
Day, who turns 17 on September 28, will have to decide whether to chase another of her goals next year – winning the Wimbledon girls title (she was a semifinalist this summer) – or join the professional circuit.