An unranked Girls’ 12 doubles team upset duo after duo at the USTA/Midwest Section Closed Junior Championships in Indianapolis to reach the title match, where it lost the first set and trailed in the second.
Winnetka’s Anna Ross and her partner, Soren Leichter, still found a way to win.
After losing the title match’s first set 6-3, Ross and Leichter, from Bloomington, Indiana, trailed 4-2 in the second to Meghan Coleman and Elizabeth Eades. Ross and Leichter came back to win the second set 7-5 and won a tiebreaker 10-7 for the championship.
“It’s very exciting, a dream come true,” Ross said. “I’ve always wanted to have that title, and now I do.”
That title in June was a surprise to everyone, including Ross’ instructor, Maciek Jozwiak, and her mother Nancy. Anna Ross and Leichter’s first match together was the first match of the Junior Championships. As singles players, Leichter had beaten Anna Ross at a recent tournament, and when each was looking for a partner for the Junior Championships, Leichter contacted Anna Ross.
They learned to play together quickly. Anna Ross said they communicated well on the court, and they each saw the ball well and knew where to be. The instant chemistry propelled them past the No. 1-seeded team of Jaedan Brown and Karina Miller in the second round. The fairy tale potential became real.
“Expectations were really low, trying to believe that we could do well, but not setting too many high goals,” said Jozwiak, Anna Ross’ instructor of more than two years. “After the huge upset in the second match, that’s when we all started to feel, ‘Oh, maybe we have some sort of chance to do well in this tournament.’ ”
Jozwiak said Anna Ross is an aggressive competitor with a “heavy” ball, someone who can put three different spins on her serves and can compete against older players. Anna Ross comes from a tennis family — her father, Ed, played tennis at Southern Methodist University — and practices five to six days a week with instructors like Jozwiak at the Five Seasons Family Sports Club in Northbrook.
Anna Ross said she dreams of playing at Wimbledon someday, and she’ll continue to play the sport in the future. In the meantime, she will continue to play with Leichter in upcoming tournaments, including two this month.
“We’re really excited about that, to get back together,” Nancy Ross said. “We’ll see where it goes.”