As the accolades continue to roll in for Canada’s top professional players, the country’s next generation of tennis stars are also making waves in their respective age groups. The latest success story is Kayla Cross who took home the under 14s singles and doubles titles at the Eddie Herr International Championships in Bradenton, Florida last weekend.

Cross, who is part of Tennis Canada’s regional training program in Ontario and trains at Aviva Centre, entered the event as the top seed in singles. She didn’t disappoint as she claimed the crown without dropping a single set. In fact, she won her opening two matches without conceding a game against Basant LL Kaur of the United States or wild card Vaiani Dusserre-Valleaux of French Polynesia.

In the round of 16, Cross saw off the challenge of Erica Jessel of the United States 6-4, 6-1 before overcoming Argentina’s Luciana Moyano 6-1, 6-3 in the quarter-finals. In the last four, she came up against her first seeded opponent in the form of Karsyn Evans (No. 8) of the United States, beating her 6-2, 6-0 to set up a clash with Sara Saito (No. 13) of Japan in the final. Against Saito, Cross continued her excellent form and produced a convincing 6-3, 6-1 victory to take home the title.

In doubles, she joined up with Slovakia’s Nikola Daubnerova to form the draw’s No. 1-seeded pairing. The duo received a bye in the first round before defeating Jessel and Ibifuro Clement 6-2, 6-1 in the round of 16. In the quarter-finals, Cross and Daubnerova were forced to come from behind to beat Hayu Kinoshita and Ester Vyrian. Having lost the first set 3-6, they battled back to claim the second 6-4 and the third 10-1.

Ahmani Guichard and Lexington Reed (No. 8) awaited them in the semi-finals but Cross and Daubnerova made short work of their American opponents, defeating them 6-4, 6-4 to reach the final. There, Cross would face a familiar foe in the form of Saito, who was paired with Ena Koike of the United States. The outcome was the same as in the singles final as Cross, alongside her teammate, stormed to a straight-sets 6-4, 6-1 victory.

(Feature photo: WTA)

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