Kostyuk, Lopatetska Give Ukraine Two Junior Orange Bowl Titles; Argentina's Tirante and China's Wang Capture Boys Championships
©Colette Lewis 2015--
Coral Gables, FL--
Two proud Ukrainian girls won Junior Orange Bowl titles on a warm and sunny Tuesday morning at the University of Miami's Neil Schiff Tennis Center, while Argentina picked up its third major junior title of the month in South Florida in the Boys 14s singles.
No. 7 seed Dasha Lopatetska took the Girls 12s title, beating top seed and Eddie Herr champion Noa Krznaric of Croatia 7-5, 6-0, joining friend Marta Kostyuk in the winner's circle, after the fifth-seeded Kostyuk defeated Naomi Cheong of the United States 6-3, 6-4 in the Girls 14s final.
Krznaric had not lost a set in winning the Eddie Herr and in reaching the final of the Junior Orange Bowl, but Lopatetska stayed with her throughout the 70-minute first set. Lopatetska served for the set at 5-3, was broken at love, but she didn't let that derail her, and she held for a 6-5 lead. Krznaric, who frequently cries after losing a point, couldn't cope with the pressure of serving to stay in the set and she double faulted at ad-out.
Two long games opened the second set, but when Lopatetska broke Krznaric in the second game, the outcome was decided.
"In the second set, I played my best tennis," said Lopatetska, who lost in the first round of the Eddie Herr as the top seed, but did not lose a set this week. "She didn't know what to do with me, and I don't give her a chance to win. First set was very very tough, every point, every serve, every return and when I won it, I was, c'mon, you must win this trophy."
The second set ended as the first did, with a Krznaric double fault, and 14s champion Kostyuk was the first to congratulate Lopatetska, meeting her on court after the handshake.
"Marta is a great player for Ukraine, and we are very proud," said Lopatetska, who is spending the next five days in Boston with her coach and her coach's family before returning to Ukraine. "Marta and I will now play for our country, our parents, our club. This tournament is very important for me; it's the unofficial champion of the world, and it should help me to grow up, get ready for WTA and win all the grand slams."
Kostyuk added the Junior Orange Bowl title to her Eddie Herr title, staging a big comeback in the second set, when Cheong had a 3-0, two-break lead.
"I played very bad then," said Kostyuk, who lost eleven straight points from 30-15 up in the first game of the second set. "Maybe she started thinking, I can win, and she started doing more mistakes, so I was like, c'mon, let's go, you can do it."
Cheong, one of the No. 9 seeds, agreed that once Kostyuk relocated her game, Cheong wasn't getting any free points.
"I had to force her to make errors," said Cheong, who like Kostyuk is 13. "And she made even less errors after I went up 3-0. Of course you want them to miss, so you can get the points, but you have to learn how to earn it yourself. This was good for me, because I can get better at doing that. If I have chances, I need to take them."
Kostyuk admitted she was worried when serving at 2-4 15-30 in the second set.
"The first set was good, but the start of the second set was very bad.The score was 4-2 and it was very scary, I think," said Kostyuk, who is coached by her mother Talina Beiko, a member of the Ukrainian Fed Cup team in the 1990s, as well as another coach in Ukraine, where she will return for Christmas.
Cheong saved three match points serving at 4-5, with Kostyuk showing signs of nerves with three unforced errors from 40-0 up. Cheong earned a game point with a forehand on the line, but she missed her next two forehands to give Kostyuk a fourth match point, and this time Kostyuk hung in the point until she got the short ball she wanted and finished with a backhand swinging volley winner.
"It's unbelievable, I think," Kostyuk said of her Eddie Herr - Orange Bowl double. "It's a surprise. This is a big trophy for me and I think it is one step in my career. I think I can play better and better and better."
Kostyuk is eligible to compete in Les Petits As next month, and with her two titles here in Florida, will be a favorite in Tarbes, a status she said she is perfectly comfortable with.
Tirante, who lost to Chun Hsin Tseng of Taiwain in the Eddie Herr final, needed to win a third-set tiebreaker in the second round of the Junior Orange Bowl to give himself a chance for redemption.
"It took me a while to get adjusted in that first match," Tirante said in Spanish, with Miami Herald reporter Michelle Kaufman serving as translator. "I wasn't playing very well and I'm very thankful and grateful that I was able to pull it out, basically, with my heart, and it propelled me to this day."
Tirante had not lost a set since, and he thoroughly dominated the final, using his serve and forehand to keep Matusevich on the defensive. Up early in both sets, Tirante had one brief misstep in the third game, when he was broken and Matusevich held for 2-2, but Matusevich was too inconsistent to keep up with Tirante and his last two service games were riddled with disheartening double faults.
Even when up 5-2 in the second set, Tirante, who described himself as passionate and whose favorite ATP player is Australian ATP pro Nick Kyrgios, never lost his intensity, with the fist pumps and exhortations of vamos never flagging.
"This is one of the biggest junior tournaments, and it was a goal of mine to win here," Tirante said. "I'm very, very happy. It was a dream come true for me."
Tirante's win is the third of the month for Argentina, with Maria Lourdes Carle and Sebastian Baez, who was on hand for the final, claiming the 16s titles at the Metropolia Orange Bowl nine days ago.
“It makes me very proud," Tirante said. "It shows that junior tennis in our country is improving day by day and we are becoming an international force in the juniors.”
The boys 12s final, played on the Har-Tru courts at Salvadore Park, produced a second double, with Xioafei Wang of China adding the Junior Orange Bowl title to his Eddie Herr championship with a 6-1, 6-2 win over No. 8 seed Jewon Jeon of Korea.
Wang, who won the Eddie Herr as a qualifier, was the top seed at the Junior Orange Bowl, and he lost only one set in his seven victories. Although score of the final appears lopsided, the match took nearly two hours to complete.
Third Place and Consolation Results:
In addition to the finals, the third place and consolation finals were played on Tuesday.
At the Boys 12s at Salvadore Park, unseeded Alexander Bernard of the US took fifth place, beating No. 3 seed Hamad Nedjedovic of Serbia 6-4, 7-6(7). Eduardo Morais of Portugal had been awarded third place on Monday when Christopher Li of Peru of was unable to compete due to injury.
In the Girls 12s, No. 4 seed Cori Gauff came from 6-0, 5-1 down to defeat No. 5 seed Charlotte Owensby 0-6, 7-5, 6-2 for third place. Fifth place went to No. 6 seed Yeonwoo Ku of Korea, who beat No. 3 seed Kylie Bilchev of Great Britain 7-5, 6-1.
Third place in Girls 14s went to unseeded Yuki Naito of Japan, who defeated unseeded Loudmilla Bencheikh of France 6-2, 7-5. Unseeded Himeno Sakasume of Japan took fifth place, beating Qinwen Zheng of China 6-2, 0-6, 6-1. (The match should have been decided in a match tiebreaker, but was not).
Unseeded Sebastian Grundtvig of Denmark took fifth place in the Boys 14s with a 6-2, 6-1 win over No. 7 seed Jack Draper of Great Britain, and Seon Yong Han of Korea, a No. 17 seed, defeated No. 4 seed Timofey Skatov of Russia 7-6(5), 6-4 to take third place.
Complete draws can be found at the TennisLink site.