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August 22, 2014

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Tennis:

Las Vegas youth dominates winter tournament

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Richard Brian

Kimberly Yee won the 12-and-under singles championships and the 12-and-under doubles championships with partner Ellen Jang-Milsten at the USTA National Winter Championships.

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Kimberly Yee, 12, won the USTA National Winter Championships sportsmanship award in December. She is shown practicing at the Las Vegas Hilton.

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Kimberly Yee, 12, won the USTA National Winter Championships sportsmanship award in December. She is shown practicing at the Las Vegas Hilton.

Las Vegas junior tennis player Kimberly Yee tends to hide her emotions on the court.

Her reaction to a winning shot is usually the same as her reaction to a missed shot — calm as she calculates what to do on the next point.

Kimberly, a consistent top 10 player in the United States Tennis Association's 12-and-under rankings, is too busy having fun to get worked up over a few losses.

"I don't get mad when I lose," said Kimberly, 12. "I have frustration inside. I just don't show it."

While Kimberly, who lives in Spring Valley and is home schooled, may not be one of the loudest players on the court, she showed she is one of the most passionate at the USTA National Winter Championships on Dec. 27 in Tucson, Ariz.

Kimberly went 7-0 to win the 12-and-under singles championships and 6-0 with partner Ellen Jang-Milsten to win the 12-and-under doubles championships.

To cap off the biggest wins of her career, Kimberly was honored with the tournament's sportsmanship award.

"That was the last 12-and-under tournament I was going to play, so it was good that I could win it," she said. "I like winning the (sportsmanship award) because it shows that everyone else thinks I'm a good sport, too."

It was Kimberly's first doubles tournament with Ellen, a player from Georgia she met through e-mail, but the pair played with perfect chemistry and surrendered just one set.

Kimberly was even more dominant in the singles tournament—not losing any sets—and defeated No. 2 seeded Makarova Christina 6-4, 6-4 in the finals to clinch the title.

"It was a really tiring match," Kimberly said. "She didn't miss a lot and she got everything back. I can be consistent but I don't like to be in the point for a long time, so I usually try to go for the winner."

Tim Blenkiron, Kimberly's coach at the Las Vegas Hilton Tennis Academy, said she has potential to play on the professional tour.

"She deals with pressure well and she has never had much fear," Blenkiron said. "If that doesn't change, she could be a very good player."

Kimberly comes from a tennis family — her father is tennis professional Adam Yee — and attributes her improved game to competing against her 15-year-old brother Kristofer Yee.

"I wasn't surprised she won the nationals, but you have to be lucky to win a 128 draw tournament," Adam Yee said. "You have to play well and be lucky."

Sean Ammerman can be reached at 990-2661 or [email protected].

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