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Champions crowned at USTA Southern U.S. Open National Playoffs

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A week of great tennis culminated on Saturday at Life Time Athletic during the US Open National Playoffs Southern Qualifying Tournament in Norcross, GA.

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Champions were crowned in men's and women's singles as well as mixed doubles.

In this week-long event, it doesn't hurt to be a college player coming off a long and intense college tennis season.

Maxx Lipman, a University of Florida player and native of Nashville jumped out to a a 4-1 lead in his match against Michael Kay of Georgia Tech.

Kay, keeping Lipman off balance with his forehand took the first set, but Lipman then settled in.

The second team All-SEC and SEC All-Freshman Team player with the Gators steadied himself and held on to take the match 6-7(8), 6-1, 6-3.

“I got over the frustration of the first set. I’m proud of the way I fought back," stated Lipman. "I was playing good tennis and when I saw the draw; I knew it was going to be a good tournament. This is my first tournament since the college matches, so it was a good and a fun match."

On the women's side, former WTA Tour standout Julie Ditty of Kentucky came out of a retirement of sorts this month to get back in competitive tennis mode. In 2007-2008, Ditty was ranked No. 89 in the world in singles and No. 66 in doubles. She also has won more USTA Pro Circuit/ITF Circuit titles than anyone in tennis. That would be nine in singles and 30 in doubles.

Ditty prevailed over University of Alabama player, and NCAA Doubles Champion, Maya Jansen 6-2, 6.2.

Ditty said that being fifteen years older than her opponent, actually helped.

"I look at all of the matches the same," Ditty said. "I try to play with variety- high balls and slice. I kept my attitude good the whole match and stayed positive."

In mixed doubles, Ricky Doverspike and Natalie Pluskota were the victorious team.

Doverspike, a former Alabama player who now serves as assistant women’s coach for The Tide, and Pluskota, a former Tennesse player who competes on the USTA Pro Circuit won the Southern qualifying tournament two years ago, but this time it was tough as they took the spirited final 7-6(1), 3-6 [11-9] over Marcus Hurtig and Abigal Tere-Apisah.

All of the winners advance to the final 16 round in New Haven, CT, this August.

The 2014 US Open National Playoffs men’s and women’s singles champions earn a wild card into the US Open Qualifying Tournament, held prior to the US Open. The US Open National Playoffs mixed doubles champions will receive a wild card into the main draw of the 2014 US Open.

It's a tough road, but it's was way anyone can make it to New York and the U.S. Open.