Hillel student wins 8-10 tennis title in Florida
Jamaica's Alyssa James, a promising eight-year-old tennis player who attends Hillel Preparatory School, created a major upset in Palm Beach, Florida, on Monday when she defeated JoAnna Kennedy, the No. 1-seeded player in the 8-10 category of the 2016 Little Mo International Tennis tournament 6-0, 2-6, 10-6.
The Little Mo tournaments are named after Margaret Connolly, a brilliant USA tennis player who was the first female to win the Grand Slam of tennis in 1953. That year, she won the Australian, French, Wimbledon and US Open tournaments at age 18. Her tennis career was cut short by an accident she suffered while horse riding and she died at age 34, from cancer.
James, who has been playing tennis since she was three years old, was seeded No. 14 in the tournament, and reached the final by disposing of the No. 2 seeded player. Her opponent, Kennedy, had won two previous Little Mo tournaments and was going for the Little Mo Slam in her match against James.
The Jamaican started off aggressively and won the first set 6-0, but Kennedy regained her composure in the second set, and breezed through it 6-2.
Kennedy seemed set to take the match when she led 6-2 in the super tiebreaker, but James, who says that she admires her idol, Serena Williams, for her fighting spirit, showed this herself when she fought back brilliantly to win the breaker 10-6, and pull off a major upset. Alyssa, who is the daughter of Tennis Jamaica director Marcus James, is coached in Jamaica by Damion Johnson and Richard Russell.