Thiem and Kontaveit Take Grade A Orange Bowl Titles; Chung and Routliffe Win 16s Championships
by Colette Lewis
, 15 December 2011
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The global nature of tennis was on full display at last week's Orange Bowl, with Austria, Estonia, Korea and Canada claiming the four singles titles, each one the country's first championship in that age division.
Held on the Har-Tru courts of the Frank Veltri Tennis Center in Plantation, Florida this year after 13 years on the hard courts of Crandon Park, the competition featured few Americans in the late rounds. Wild card Sachia Vickery reached the semifinals in the 18s, while Kimberly Yee and Rasheeda McAdoo advanced to the semifinals in the 16s, but there were no US finalists in the four singles championship matches.
Austria claimed both spots in the boys 18s final for the second tournament in a row, and just as he had in the Eddie Herr, Dominic Thiem
defeated compatriot Patrick Ofner
by the identical score of 6-1, 6-0.
The 18-year-old Thiem ended his junior career on an 18-match winning streak, having won the Yucatan Cup on hard courts the week prior to claiming the Eddie Herr title on clay.
"The first two tournaments I felt a lot of pressure," admitted Thiem, who was seeded number one in all three tournaments. "But now it's easier because I know when I play good, it's very difficult to beat me."
Ofner could testify to the truth of that statement. After a grueling three-setter in the semifinals against unseeded Canadian Filip Peliwo, which Ofner won in a third-set tiebreaker, the No. 7 seed's fatigue left him unable to challenge his longtime friend.
"I was very tired today," said Ofner, who has known and played Thiem since they were 10 years old. "I think it was the match of yesterday - it was very hot and nearly three hours. I was only tired today, can't move anymore and I didn't play any balls in the court, so congratulations to him."
Thiem, who will end the year at No. 4 in the ITF junior rankings, was not anticipating a carbon copy of the Eddie Herr final.
"I expected a tough match," said Thiem, who seemed unaffected by a 40-minute rain delay after the first game of the second set.
"I played very well last week and he was a little bit injured last week, but I was expecting a tough match today. I think we were both tired from the last weeks, but I think I played very aggressive and made no mistakes, while he made more mistakes."
Last year Thiem's attempt at the Yucatan Cup-Eddie Herr-Orange Bowl triple was halted in the quarterfinals of the Orange Bowl, when he retired against Joris De Loore of Belgium, but believes he's gotten stronger in the past 12 months.
"Last year I had very tough matches at the Eddie Herr, I think three three-setters," said the French Open boys finalist. "It was a very big difference this year that I won the Eddie Herr without dropping a set so I could make it through this one."