Teen tennis player qualifies for Nationals, moves up in rankings

Jessica Failla competes in a tennis match. Photo courtesy of Failla family
Jessica Failla competes in a tennis match. Photo courtesy of Failla family

By Bill Tamburrino

Jessica Failla has been very busy this spring, competing in tennis tournaments and moving up in rankings, and will be even busier this summer.

The 15-year-old won the sectional Anaheim Junior Tennis Tournament in the 16 and under classification. The tourney was a two-week event. She beat Katie Ta of Los Angeles in the semifinals, 6-1 and 6-0, to earn a spot in the finals. In the finals she upset the No. 1 seed Hannah Chang of Fontana 6-1 and 6-3.

The win in Anaheim qualified Jessica for the Nationals. She traveled with her dad, Greg Failla, the tennis pro at San Vicente Resort, to Surprise, Ariz., to compete in the girls under 16 National Tournament.

Jessica won 11 matches to earn a spot in the semifinals where she beat the No. 2 seed 6-4 and 6-3. She lost to the No. 1 seed, Christina Rosta of New Jersey, in the finals 6-2 and 6-2. The great showing at the Nationals has moved Jessica to the top tier in the rankings in the 16 and under level.

This summer Jessica will only spend one week at home in July. The rest of the time she will be on the road in tournaments, and  will wind up the summer by competing in the biggest national tournament of the year here in San Diego.

The Barnes Tennis Center will host the Nationals in the first week of August, and Jessica will be ready to compete against the best in the nation. She will be competing in the 18 and under level even though she is only 15, which she pointed out is under 18.

“My hard work is finally paying off. I just thank God that I have been injury free,” said Jessica. She practices tennis four hours a day and spends another hour strengthening her shoulder so that it is strong enough to compete.

The tennis player is home schooled and is a sophomore, but she has been getting attention from Division I colleges because of her high national rankings.

   
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