June 25, 2013
CINCINNATI, Ohio - Following a 3-0 start in the USTA Midwest Sectional Championship, Huskie Nelle Youel (Crystal Lake, Ill./Crystal Lake Central) claimed the women's singles championship Tuesday afternoon with a straight set victory over Syracuse's Maddie Kobelt, 7-5, 6-3. She advances to the US Open National Playoff Aug. 16-19 in New Haven, Conn.
“It’s still surreal to me. I never would have thought about that prior to coming here," said Youel after the match when asked about being step closer to playing in the US Open, "I knew it would be a tough tournament and to be this much closer is just unbelievable.”
The Huskie junior to be found herself in a 5-4 deficit in the first set but rallied back with three-game points to take the set, 7-5.
“Every point, I just thought ‘this is the only point that matters. This is the only point you can do anything about’ so I just tried to take it point-by-point," said Youel.
"(Kobel's) serve was really on today, it got me a lot of times so I was focusing on blocking the return back, and starting the point from there, and that’s really all I could do. Thankfully it worked out today. I started off really shaky… but it was really exciting. The match was tough. It was hot. She was a really good player and really made me dig deep.”
Following the her first set victory, Youel went on to claim the match with a 6-3 victory to give her the Midwest sectional championship. The Crystal Lake product won all four of her matches in straight-set fashion.
“It takes a lot of focus and drive and motivation to keep playing every point as hard as you can," added Youel.
Her opponent, Kobelt, was an All-Big East selection this past season at Syracuse after finishing 2013 with a 14-8 record during her junior season. She was 11-3 from the No. 2 position with a 1-4 record against opponents ranked in the Top-75.
Youel will now compete in the US Open National Playoff, hosted by Yale University, Aug. 16-19. The playoff is the "second round" of the US Open National Playoffs.
Players qualify by winning their respective Sectional Qualifying Tournament in cities across the United States from April through June. The winner of the Women's Singles Championship will earn a wild card entry to compete in the 2013 US Open Qualifying Tournament at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, Aug. 20-23.