The tournament took place December 26–31 at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Queens, and there was a draw of 64 mixed doubles teams. The couple was seeded as the number five team, having won the Eastern Sectional qualifying tournament for the U.S. Open this past summer and another USTA tournament in Long Beach, New York, in late December.
Winning the championship was not easy, however; Hleb and Simona faced several tough competitors, including top players from Columbia University in a semi-final match, with a final score was 6–4, 6–2. In the finals, they played against the previous winners of the U.S. Open qualifying sectional. “We played at a very high level and did not give them a chance to get into the match. We beat them 6–3, 6–1,” Simona said.
Hleb, a coach for the Ross School Tennis Academy (RSTA), and Simona, an associate with the Ross Admissions office, practice daily at the Ross Tennis Center. Simona said this was a huge accomplishment, and it was made possible by the time they spend training in the excellent Ross tennis facilities. Simona and Hleb are 22–1 in overall wins and losses and have won five tournaments since they started playing together.
Next up for Hleb is a tournament in Sea Colony, New York, on January 10, where he will compete in men’s singles and doubles along with RSTA players. The pair is also looking forward to taking another shot at winning the U.S. Open mixed doubles championship in summer 2015.
Good luck, Hleb and Simona!