By Pat Mitsch, USTA
– Russia’s Andrey Rublev and Canada’s Gloria Liang each overcame their emotions, no matter how different those emotions were, to capture the boys’ and girls’ 16s singles titles Saturday at the Orange Bowl International Tennis Championships.
No. 4 Rublev defeated No. 12 Tommy Paul (Coconut Creek, Fla), 6-3, 6-4, and No. 8 Liang beat Chloe Michele Ouellet-Pizer (Chapel Hill, N.C.), 6-3, 7-5, on the Frank Veltri Tennis Center’s clay courts.
Rublev lost only two sets in his six singles victories at the Orange Bowl, and he defeated Paul on Saturday without showing much of his fiery side.
"Two years ago, I was absolutely crazy," Rublev said of his demeanor. "But now, it’s better.
"It’s a good feeling to be the winner of Orange Bowl, so I’m happy," Rublev added. "Today was not so easy to play. Sometimes he made easy shots – winners – and sometimes easy mistakes, so it’s tough to adapt."
On the other hand, Liang fought through jitters to surprise even herself in becoming the second straight Canadian to win the Orange Bowl Girls' 16s title, after Erin Routliffe last year.
"It feels really good because I didn’t think I could get this far," Liang said. "I’ve never played so well in such a big tournament. I was really nervous, actually, in the beginning. It was actually my first match that I felt truly nervous, and I think I played through it, so that was good."
Meanwhile, No. 7 Ana Konjuh of Croatia took down No. 1 Taylor Townsend (Stockbridge, Ga.), 4-6, 6-1, 6-3 in the girls' 18s semifinals a day after Townsend battled Canada’s Carol Zhao in a nearly four-hour quarterfinal victory.
"This morning I woke up pretty tired, but I felt fine on the court," Townsend said. "I was hitting well this morning, and I came out in the first set kind of fired up, and she started placing the ball really well.
"She played really well," Townsend added. "There wasn’t much I could do, really."
Konjuh, the 14-year old who won the Eddie Herr International Junior Championship 18s title a week ago, will now play No. 2 Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic in Sunday’s girls' 18s final after Siniakova defeated No. 6 Marcela Zacarias of Mexico, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3.
"I have a lot of self-confidence right now, so I’m mentally strong," Konjuh said. "And, yeah, I’m a bit tired after I’ve played, like, 20 matches in two weeks. But I hope I’m going to be better than her tomorrow. I want to really win the Orange Bowl this year."
No. 10 Laslo Djere of Serbia and No. 12 Elias Ymer of Sweden will play Sunday for the boys' 18s singles title after Djere took down No. 9 Thai-Son Kwiatkowski (Charlotte, N.C.), 6-4, 6-4, and Ymer topped No. 8 Filippo Baldi of Italy, 6-2, 7-5.
Townsend and Gabrielle Andrews (Pomona, Calif.) will meet Mexico’s Victoria Rodriguez and Marcela Zacarias in Sunday’s girls' 18s doubles final. Christian Garin of Chile and Nicolas Jarry (Key Biscayne, Fla.) will play Lithuania’s Lukas Mugevicius and Russia’s Alexander Vasilenko in the boys' 18s doubles final.
For updated draws and each day’s order of play, click here
. Saturday’s complete results are listed below.
Orange Bowl International Tennis Championships
Frank Veltri Tennis Center, Plantation, Fla.
Boys' 18s, Semifinals
(12) Elias Ymer, SWE d. (8) Filippo Baldi, ITA, 6-2, 7-5
(10) Laslo Djere, SRB d. (9) Thai-Son Kwiatkowski, USA, 6-4, 6-4
Boys' 16s, Final
(4) Andrey Rublev, RUS d. (12) Tommy Paul, USA, 6-3, 6-4
Girls' 18s, Semifinals
(7) Ana Konjuh, CRO d. (1) Taylor Townsend, USA, 4-6, 6-1, 6-3
(2) Katerina Siniakova, CZE d. (6) Marcela Zacarias, MEX, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3
Girls' 16s, Final
(8) Gloria Liang, CAN d. (16) Chloe Michele Ouellet-Pizer, USA, 6-3, 7-5
Christian Garin, CHI/Nicolas Jarry, USA d. (1) Filippo Baldi/Gianluigi Quinzi, ITA, walkover
Lukas Mugevicius, LTU/Alexander Vasilenko, RUS d. (4) Borna Coric, CRO/Elias Ymer, SWE, 6-4, 6-3
Gabrielle Andrews/Taylor Townsend, USA d. (6) Katy Dunne, GBR/Christina Makarova, USA, 6-2, 6-3
(8) Victoria Rodriguez/Marcela Zacarias, MEX d. Jennifer Brady/Jamie Loeb, USA, 6-4, 6-2