Americans Thrive in New York:
Wild Card Vandeweghe Takes US Open Girls Title; Qualifier Britton Falls to Dimitrov in Final
by Colette Lewis
, 11 September 2008
The US Open Junior Championships proved to be a coming out party for the two Americans finalists, with Coco Vandeweghe capturing the title by virtue of a 7-6(3), 6-1 victory over Gabriela Paz of Venezuela and Devin Britton reaching the end of his magical run, suffering a 6-4, 6-3 defeat to Bulgaria's Grigor Dimitrov. Dimitrov, also the boys champion at Wimbledon, ascends to No. 1 in the ITF junior rankings with the win, and will now concentrate on professional tennis.
Vandeweghe, who turned professional this spring, had an extended stay in New York as a recipient of a women's main draw wild card. The luck of the draw put the Girls 18s Nationals runner-up across the net from eventual finalist and No. 2 seed Jelena Jankovic in the tournament's first night match on Arthur Ashe stadium, but even after her 6-3, 6-1 loss to the Serbian, Vandeweghe was in a positive mood as the junior event neared.
"I was really confident even in the beginning of the tournament," said Vandeweghe, the first U.S. girl to win the title since Tara Snyder in 1995. "Just starting out I had a rocky first match, but then as it went on I got better and better and my serves got better and better."
In the first round against No. 13 seed Elena Chernyakova, the Russian was serving for the first set at 5-4. But Vandeweghe, whose mother Tauna was an Olympic swimmer and whose uncle Kiki played in the NBA and is now general manager of the New Jersey Nets, broke Chernyakova and ran away with the match in the second set, taking a 7-5, 6-1 decision. Although she was taken to three tiebreakers, Vandeweghe didn't lose a set throughout the week, with her powerful serve and forehand doing most of the damage.
"She has a really good serve and a really good forehand," said the unseeded Paz, who surprised No. 2 seed Melanie Oudin of the U.S. in Saturday's semifinal, played indoors due to tropical storm Hanna. "I think it was really close in the first set. I think I got a little negative at some calls and just got a little mental. But I think she played a really good game."