Hum­bert claims the girls 16s sin­gles ti­tle at Ju­nior Open in Ben­tonville.

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - SPORTS - HENRY AP­PLE Henry Ap­ple can be reached at hap­ or on Twit­ter @NWAHenry.

BEN­TONVILLE — The first time Yas­mine Hum­bert man­aged to hold her serve Sunday af­ter­noon, it was needed to keep Er­ica Jag­ger­nauth from pulling away with the match.

It was a lit­tle dif­fer­ent the next time Hum­bert held serve. This time, it helped clinch the first set, then Hum­bert pro­ceeded to claim the girls 16s sin­gles ti­tle with a 7-5, 6-0 vic­tory dur­ing the Ser­ena Smith Ju­nior Open at Me­mo­rial Park.

“It was hot, ob­vi­ously. That al­ways makes it tough,” Hum­bert said. “And all the girls I played were great play­ers. I had some tough matches, and this last one was tough too. It was hard.”

Nei­ther player held their serve un­til Jag­ger­nauth — who re­cently moved to Rog- ers from the Tulsa area — did it to claim a 4-3 lead in the first set. Hum­bert, who played dou­bles for Ben­tonville High’s state cham­pi­onship team last fall, an­swered by hold­ing her serve to tie the first set again, then broke Jag­ger­nauth’s serve again for a 5-4 lead.

Both play­ers then broke each other’s serve again, which gave Hum­bert a 6-5 lead. Hum­bert, the top-seed in the girls 16s sin­gles divi­sion, then clinched the next game and the first set with a fore­hand win­ner out of Jag­ger­nauth’s reach.

“I had never played her be­fore,” Hum­bert said. “I just as­sumed she was go­ing to be a great player, and I was just try­ing to play my best.

“I just tried to keep every­thing cross court. That’s kind of how I play, and I think it just worked.”

The sec­ond set was com­pletely dif­fer­ent as Hum­bert be­gan to take over, and mo­men­tum was on her side. She held serve on all three oc­ca­sions dur­ing the sec­ond sets and swept the match while

keep­ing Jag­ger­nauth’s points to a min­i­mum.

“Af­ter win­ning the first set, usu­ally the sec­ond set is

a bit eas­ier,” said Hum­bert, who will be homeschooled in the fall and will forego high school ten­nis. “You have the con­fi­dence that you need, and es­pe­cially if you can’t hold serve and it stays tied.

“Those points are re­ally hard. You have to re­ally try and fo­cus on your get­ting your serve, hold­ing it and break­ing the other per­son. The fore­hand was bet­ter, but the back­hand — I’ve had bet­ter ones.”

The start of Sunday’s matches were de­layed for two hours be­cause of rain dur­ing the morn­ing, then two other cham­pi­onship matches at Me­mo­rial Park had pre­ma­ture end­ings. Seth Her­nan­dez of Lit­tle Rock had a 6-0, 3-0 lead in the boys 18s sin­gles cham­pi­onship be­fore an in­jury forced Quinn San­ders of Texarkana to with­draw.

In the boys 16s sin­gles cham­pi­onship, top-seeded John Wylie had a 5-4 lead in the first set be­fore his op­po­nent, Bradley Niel of Rogers, suf­fered an in­jury and re­tired.

NWA Demo­crat-Gazette/BEN GOFF • @NWABENGOFF

Yas­mine Hum­bert of Ben­tonville com­petes Sunday in the girls 16 sin­gles fi­nal dur­ing the Ser­ena Smith State Farm Ju­nior Open State ten­nis tour­na­ment at the Me­mo­rial Park ten­nis courts in Ben­tonville. Hum­bert de­feated Er­ica Jag­ger­nauth of Rogers to win the tour­na­ment.

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