Kecmanovic Defends Title, Juvan Claims Girls Championship at Metropolia Orange Bowl
by Colette Lewis
, 15 December 2016
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Serbia's Miomir Kecmanovic completed two of the toughest tasks in tennis last weekend, adding a second straight Metropolia Orange Bowl title to his International Tennis Federation Grade 1 Eddie Herr championship the previous week. Kaja Juvan of Slovenia ousted top-ranked junior Anastasia Potapova of Russia to capture girls title at the ITF Grade A tournament, held on the Har-Tru courts of the Veltri Tennis Center in Plantation, Florida.
The 17-year-old Kecmanovic became only the third boy to win both the Eddie Herr and Orange Bowl titles in the same year, joining former ATP No. 1 Andy Roddick and current ATP Top 10 player Dominic Thiem on that short list. And when the 2015 Orange Bowl champion
defeated No. 2 seed Yibing Wu
of China 6-3, 6-1 in the final, he became the first boy since current UCLA
head coach Billy Martin in 1973 and 1974 to defend his title.
Kecmanovic never trailed in Sunday's final, delayed for over an hour due to morning rain. Looking relaxed and in control throughout, the 2016 US Open boys finalist had a decided advantage in big-match experience, with Wu playing in his first Grade A final. Armed with the knowledge that he had clinched the ITF's World Junior Champion title for 2016, Kecmanovic was able to concentrate on the elemental part of the game all week, not the consequences.
"I didn't really put too much pressure into it, because I knew that I would finish [number] one no matter what I did here," said Kecmanovic. "So I just played for myself and I just enjoyed it. I knew after Eddie Herr, but nobody told me that before the finals, so I wouldn't get nervous. Of course I was very happy, but I have to keep going and not let it get to me, to think there's nothing after this."
Wu, who did not play the Eddie Herr, was forced to three sets twice in his run to the final, including in his semifinal win over 2015 16s Orange Bowl champion Sebastian Baez of Argentina. Kecmanovic, who ended the run of unseeded American Danny Thomas in Saturday's soggy semifinals, did not drop a set in the tournament and displayed that same form against Wu.
Wu had difficulty taking control of points, whether serving or returning, and he attributed that struggle to Kecmanovic's physical and mental strengths.