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Buchert claims another singles championship

Sunday, August 2, 2009 | 7:31 p.m. CDT; updated 7:51 p.m. CDT, Monday, August 3, 2009
Vaughn Mueller, 12, of Rocheport, returns a ball to Rohit Rao, 12, of Columbia, during the USTA Junior Tournament on Sunday. Mueller won the set (6-3, 6-4) to take the championship.

COLUMBIA — Rock Bridge senior Blake Buchert wiped the sweat off his face with a towel, picked up his tennis bag and walked off of court 2 at Country Club of Missouri.

Inside, satisfaction was welling up as he left with yet another USTA Boys 18 division, singles championship.

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"That felt good," Buchert said. "I won both in the June tournament, so I tried to come out here and pull out the clean sweep again."

Buchert, who also claimed the doubles championship with partner Daniel Liu, won 6-4, 6-4 in the singles championship against Rock Bridge teammate Joseph Larose. Buchert got to the championship match with a bye in the first round and by defeating  Rock Bridge teammate Alan Ni in straight sets, 6-3, 6-2.

"It's a lot of fun to be able to play against these guys," Buchert said. "Everyone's just trying to get better for next year and it's nice to be able to come together in a tournament and see how guys have improved."

Buchert has won a state championship in doubles each of the past two years for Rock Bridge, but has been able to find success this year in USTA singles. 

"I'm more of a doubles guy," Buchert said. "But it's nice to be able to get some competitive singles play in throughout the summer." 

Vaughn Mueller, of Rocheport, was able to take care of Rohit Rao, of Columbia, 6-3, 6-4 in the Boys 12 division championship match. Sarah Heeter was able to battle back and take care of Rock Bridge teammate Abby Kayser in the girls 18 singles finals.

The August Open was the second of three USTA tournaments that will be hosted by the Country Club of Missouri. The final USTA tournament of the summer will be held at the Country Club of Missouri on the last weekend in August.

"We put on these tournaments, because it helps junior tennis in Columbia," said Phil Baillos, the Country Club of Missouri tennis director. "With the event being USTA level, it gets kids excited and it gives them a chance to build their ranking in the Missouri Valley Section."


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