Fratangelo and Hardebeck Continue Winning Ways with Easter Bowl ITF Championships
by Colette Lewis
, 22 April 2010
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Bjorn Fratangelo and Krista Hardebeck may be reigning Clay Court champions, but in capturing two major hard court events this spring, they have shown their dominance extends to faster surfaces too.
Fratangelo, the 16s Clay Court champion
, won the USTA Spring National Championships
last month in Mobile, Ala., and followed up with a title last week at the ITF Easter Bowl
, a Grade B1 event at the Rancho Las Palmas resort in Rancho Mirage, Calif.
Hardebeck, the 18s Clay Court champion, joined him in the Easter Bowl winner's circle, less than a week after capturing the ITF Grade 1 International Spring Championships in Carson, Calif.
Hardebeck, a 15-year-old from Santa Ana, Calif., survived a dozen grueling days of competition, although by taking 11 of her 12 victories in straight sets, she minimized her time on the court. In the Easter Bowl final against top seed Lauren Davis, Hardebeck's physical and mental strength played a major role in her 7-5, 6-3 victory.
"It's sort of like a marathon, running the last mile," Hardebeck said of her twelfth win in twelve days. "I do train a lot, so I'm not too tired physically, but maybe mentally, because wow, that was a lot in a row."
The final was played on a scorching day in the Coachella valley that saw temperatures climb into the low 90s, with no breeze to provide any relief.
Hardebeck took an early lead in the opening set, but was quickly broken back, and at both 4-all and 5-all, saved break points that would have given Davis the chance to serve for the set.
Instead, the unflappable right-hander escaped, assisted by the net cord gods. With Davis serving at 5-6, 15-30, Hardebeck's shot clipped the tape and trickled over, giving her two set points. She missed a backhand wide on the first, but on the next, Davis shanked a backhand and Hardebeck had the opening set.
In the second set, Hardebeck took a 3-0 lead, but Davis kept herself in it by holding in her next three service games. Serving for the match at 5-3, Hardebeck faced a break point at 30-40, but Davis netted an ill-advised drop shot, and Hardebeck forced an error on the next point. On her first match point, Hardebeck worked her way inside the service line for a putaway, and when her forehand smash found open court, she let out a scream, one of the few displays of emotion she allowed herself.