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Routliffe, Chung make history at Orange Bowl; Finals set for 18s

December 11, 2011 09:07 AM
Erin Routliffe won the Girls' 16s title.
Hyeon Chung won the Boys' 16s title.
By Andrew Labovitz, special to USTA.com
PLANTATION, Fla. - Erin Routliffe of Canada and Hyeon Chung of South Korea made history at the Orange Bowl International Tennis Championships on Saturday, becoming the first players from their respective countries to capture 16s singles at the prestigious tournament. Moreover, the boys’ and girls’ 18s finals were set, and Sunday’s matches at the Frank Veltri Tennis Center in Plantation, Fla., will feature a pair of rematches from last week’s Eddie Herr.
Routliffe, a 6’2" native of Toronto, was seeking the biggest title of her career as she took to the court in the girls’ 16s final against Great Britain’s Katie Boulter, who was likewise seeking the first Orange Bowl girls’ singles title of any kind for her country. Routliffe, who had already defeated the No. 1 seed earlier in the tournament, utilized a strong serve and solid forehand to defeat the second-seeded Boulter 6-4, 6-3, to secure the glass bowl of oranges given to the tournament champions.
"My focus this week has been great," said Routliffe, who has just in the past month started training at Canada’s National Training Center. "But this week I’ve been focusing on each and every point, and I think that’s made the biggest difference. I knew that if I played my best I could win the whole thing, and I think I played pretty well!"
The boys’ 16s final likewise pitted two players looking to capture the first-ever Orange Bowl titles for their countries. Adding to the drama was the fact that both Hyeon Chung of South Korea and Diego Pedraza of Colombia train together at the Bollettieri Academy in Bradenton, Fla. After Pedraza jumped out to an early 4-0 lead, Chung battled back to force a tiebreak, but Pedraza was the stronger player and took the first set. From there, however, Chung took control of the match, winning the second two sets handily and taking the title 6-7(6), 6-3, 6-1.
"It feels great to win," Chung offered, through his interpreter. "Because I know Diego so well, there wasn’t any pressure. It felt like any other match."
The girls’ 18s semifinals featured two matches that had decidedly different outcomes, but the end result is a rematch of last week’s Eddie Herr quarterfinal. On one court, No. 2 seed Yulia Putintseva of Russia took on American wild card Sachia Vickery of Miramar, Fla. Both players were very vocal throughout the match, and in the first set, it seemed as if both were more interested in finding out who could shout the loudest after winning a point than focusing on the tennis being played. After Putintseva took the first set 7-5, Vickery stormed back to a 5-1 lead in the second set. Vickery earned set points in a number of different games, but each time the more consistent Putintseva fought back as she won six straight games to take the match, 7-5, 7-5, and reach her first Orange Bowl final.
"When I went down 5-1, I told myself to play just like it was any other practice session, and I was able to fight back," said Putintseva, the reigning Eddie Herr champion. "It feels great to be in the Orange Bowl final; I’ve played this tournament so many times and have never reached the final, so I really hope I can keep this going for one more day!"
In tomorrow’s final, Putintseva will face No. 5 seed Anna Kontaveit of Estonia, whom Putintseva beat 6-2, 1-6, 6-4, in the Eddie Herr quarterfinals last week. After a very topsy-turvy match, Kontaveit advanced on Saturday when top seed Eugenie Bouchard of Canada retired due to a stomach injury in the third set with Kontaveit leading 0-6, 6-4, 4-2. Bouchard tried valiantly to end the match in the second set, despite losing the first five games. She won four straight to work her way back into the set, but Kontaveit was able to convert on her first set point and force a third.
"I couldn’t find my game at all in the first set, but really started playing better in the second set," Kontaveit said. "I couldn’t tell she was hurt and was really shocked when she retired at the end there."
Asked about her ensuing rematch with Putintseva, Kontaveit replied, "I lost a tough match to her last week, so I’m really excited about getting the chance for revenge."
Revenge could also be in order in the boys’ 18s final, which will pit Austrian compatriots Dominic Thiem against Patrick Ofner, who similarly met in last week’s Eddie Herr final. On Saturday, the seventh-seeded Ofner needed every bit of grit and determination to eke out a tough three-set victory over Canada’s Filip Peliwo 3-6, 6-4, 7-6(5). Peliwo served for the match at 5-4 in the third set, but Ofner earned the break, forced the tiebreak and took control from there.
"It was a very tough, close match, and I’m very happy to have won," he said. "I was a little bit tired in the first set, but I kept fighting until the end. I’m very happy that the Orange Bowl is now on clay, which is my favorite surface, and I’m happy to be in the final!"
The top-seeded Thiem had a bit of an easier time, and won his 17th consecutive ITF World Junior Circuit match by brilliantly working the ball around the court to defeat No. 12 seed Yoshihito Nishioka of Japan, 7-6(3), 6-3. Thiem has dropped just one set through his five matches thus far, and though he claims he’s a bit tired, shows no visible signs of fatigue.
"It’s getting really tough, but winning the Orange Bowl has always been a big goal of mine, and that’s keeping me going," Thiem said. "I knew it would be a tough match, but I think my self-confidence and the fact that I’ve won so many tournaments recently really helped me pull through today."
On Sunday, Thiem will have the chance to pull off the rare double dip, as he’s reached the doubles final as well with partner Robin Kern of Germany. The No. 1 seeds will face the No. 4 seeded team from Great Britain, Liam Broady and Joshua Ward-Hibbert.
The girls’ 18s doubles final will feature the No. 2 seeds, Victoria Kan of Russia and Ganna Poznikhirenko of Ukraine, as they face the last remaining hopes for the U.S., in Jennifer Brady of Boca Raton, Fla., and Kendal Woodard of Stockbridge, Ga.
Finals Sunday will start at 10 a.m.
Orange Bowl International Tennis Championship
Frank Veltri Tennis Center, Plantation, Fla.
Saturday, December 10, 2011
Girls' 18s Singles – Semifinals
(5) Anett Kontaveit (EST) def. (1) Eugenie Bouchard (CAN), 0-6, 6-4, 4-2, Ret.
(2) Yulia Putintseva (RUS) def. (WC) Sachia Vickery (Miramar, Fla.), 7-5, 7-5
Boys’ 18s Singles – Semifinals
(1) Dominic Thiem (AUT) def. (12) Yoshihito Nishioka (JPN), 7-6(3), 6-3
(7) Patrick Ofner (AUT) def. Filip Peliwo (CAN), 3-6, 6-4, 7-6(5)
Girls’ 16s Singles - Final
(13) Erin Routliffe (CAN) def. (2) Katie Boulter (GBR), 6-4, 6-3
Boys’ 16s Singles – Final
Hyeon Chung (KOR) def. (12) Diego Pedraza (COL), 6-7(6), 6-3, 6-1
Girls’ 18s Doubles – Semifinals
Jennifer Brady (Boca Raton, Fla.) and Kendal Woodard (Stockbridge, Ga.) def. (6) Alexandra Kiick (Plantation, Fla.) and Carol Zhao (CAN), 6-4, 3-6, [18-16]
(2) Victoria Kan (RUS) and Ganna Poznikhirenko (UKR) def. (8) Diana Bogoliy (RUS) and Christina Makarova (San Diego), 7-5, 6-4
Boys’ 16s Doubles – Semifinals
(1) Robin Kern (GER) and Dominic Thiem (AUT) def. Jannis Kahlke (GER) and Joseph Van Dooren (BEL), 7-6(5), 6-2
(4) Liam Broady (GBR) and Joshua Ward-Hibbert (GBR) def. (5) Julien Cagnina (BEL) and Jeroen Vanneste (BEL), 6-1, 6-2


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