Inspired by seeing her hero Roger Federer earlier in the morning eating breakfast, North Carolina’s Jamie Loeb of Ossining, N.Y. beat fellow New Yorker, Oyster Bay's Julia Elbaba, 7-5, 6-1 of Virginia to capture the first American Collegiate Invitational women’s singles title played at the U.S. Open. With the win, Loeb receives at least a qualifying wild card into next year’s U.S. Open. She and Elbaba have started school and will be among the nation’s elite this coming season.
“I think I started off pretty slow,” said Loeb, who trains nearby at the John McEnroe Tennis Academy (JMTA) at Sportime Randall's Island. “It was pretty hot out there, and it took me awhile to adjust to that. But as I got into the match I was able to get more serves in.”
Loeb said the key to the day was a break in a close second game of the second set.
"Jamie is a great girl and a hard worker," said Claude Okin, Sportime CEO. "JMTA is proud to be a part of her development. She is the perfect example of a scholar athlete."
“Getting that break was huge,” Loeb said, adding she felt a little nervous at the start and that might have attributed to her slow start. “I think I’m pretty mentally tough, and I’m always going to fight to the last point.”
Besides being in the presence of her favorite player Federer before her match, her favorite memory of the week was “all the support of my family and friends.”
Felix Alvarado, Loeb's personal coach from JMTA, said, "I think Jamie was a little nervous at first, but she played better as the match went on and took control in the second set. She played great not just today, but great throughout the whole tournament."
Elbaba was disappointed with the loss.
“I felt I left everything out there on the court,” she said. “I thought we put on a great match for all the supporters. Tennis is a big game on momentum, and I thought she just gained confidence throughout the match.”
Elbaba said her best memory was, “playing some of my best tennis in front of some of the biggest crowds I’ve played in front of.”