| By New York Tennis Magazine Staff
Photo credit: Calvin Rhoden

The USTA has announced that CiCi Bellis and Claire Liu will headline the eight top junior girls selected for the 2015 Team USA National Junior Team, a training program designed to give a collection of America’s best young players opportunities to train together during the summer and travel to play against top junior competition from around the world.

Players were selected for the team based on automatic qualifying criteria or through results in a qualifying playoff, held last week at the USTA Training Center in Boca Raton, Fla.

2015 Team USA National Junior Team–Girls
CiCi Bellis (16, Atherton, Calif., coached by Lori Bellis)
Bellis is the reigning ITF World Junior Champion and was the breakout star of the 2014 U.S. Open after upsetting number 12 Dominika Cibulkova in the first round to become the youngest women’s player to win a main draw match in Flushing Meadows since 1996. 

Carson Branstine (14, Orange, Calif., coached by Kathy Rinaldi)
Branstine swept the singles and doubles titles at the Evert American ITF junior tournament last fall.

Kelly Chen (16, Cerritos, Calif., coached by Debbie Shaffer)
Chen, at 15, won her first USTA Pro Circuit title at a $10,000 event last July in Austin, Texas, and was this year’s USTA Girls’ 18s Winter National Champion.

Kayla Day (15, Santa Barbara, Calif., coached by Mike Gennette, Aaron Webster, Adam Peterson & Leo Azevedo)
Day was the runner-up to McKenzie at the 2014 USTA Girls’ 16s Nationals and won the 2013 Girls’ 14s national title. 

Michaela Gordon (15, Los Altos Hills, Calif., coached by John Hubbell & Leo Azevedo)
Gordon was a 2014 Wimbledon junior quarterfinalist and ascended into the Top 30 of the ITF world junior rankings this year.

Claire Liu (14, Thousand Oaks, Calif., coached by Mike Gennette, Adam Peterson & Leo Azevedo)
Liu made history in March with her first professional singles title, at a $10,000 even in Orlando, becoming the youngest female player to win a USTA Pro Circuit tournament since Anna Kournikova in 1996 and the sixth-youngest to do so since the Circuit’s inception in 1979.

Kylie McKenzie (16, Anthem, Ariz., Coached by Leo Azevedo & Lou Belken)
McKenzie is the reigning USTA Girls 16s National Champion and reached the Girls 18s semifinals of the prestigious Easter Bowl in April.

Alexandra Sanford (16, Westerville, Ohio, coached by Doug DiRosario)
Sanford reached the semifinals of the 2014 USTA Girls’ 16s National Championships and won a Grade 2 clay-court junior event in Chile this February. 

USTA Player Development will provide coaching and travel assistance to select events throughout the summer, such as junior Grand Slams and the USTA Girls’ 18s National Championships in San Diego.