Hawaii's Centra Wins Curacao Open

Hawaii’s Alexandra Centra took home the singles victory at the Curacao Open last month, making it her first championship title on the ITF circuit. The 15-year-old tennis player was born on Kauai and moved to Oahu when she was ten. She started playing tennis at the age of eight, training under one of Hawaii’s reputable tennis coaches, the late Hattie Somerville.

As a child, Centra competed in a variety of other sports, including soccer, baseball, basketball and Ai Kido. However, at the age of 12, tennis became her main passion. “It was my inspiration to ultimately choose to pursue tennis over all other sports,” said Centra. That pursuit led her to the renowned Sanchez-Casal Tennis Academy in Naples, Florida. “It was a tough sacrifice to leave my family and friends behind. Despite that, it has been the best decision I have ever made.”

Since moving to Florida last year at the age of 14, Centra has been playing in many ITF tournaments to improve her competitive edge. When the Curacao tournament came around last month, she felt confident. “I went into the Curacao Open thinking that this was my opportunity to show how far I have come since leaving Hawaii. When I am on court, I don’t think about anything else other than competing.” Centra’s focus and determination proved to be a winning formula. She advanced to the finals, where she defeated China’s Xintong Zhou in the finals, 6-3, 6-3. In her post-match interview, Centra commented, “The courts in Curacao were extremely fast making my flat shots and ability to open the court extremely effective. I fought for every point like it was my last.”

After this victory, Alexandra achieved a career-high junior ITF ranking of 688. “I feel like I have reached the next level in my tennis career and I am extremely happy. This win gives me the confidence to compete in higher level tournaments.” Regarding future plans, Centra is aiming even higher. She hopes to break the top 400 in the world ITF Junior ranking. “I am extremely motivated and looking forward to representing Hawaii in the future!”

Christine Nip