Black refuses early exit on Day 2 of Orange Bowl
Hurricane Tyra Black could be another name the tennis world won’t soon forget.
On Tuesday, the 16-year-old from Boca Raton, Fla., refused an early exit at the Orange Bowl International Tennis Championships despite an ambush of debilitating body cramps while she was just points away from winning the match, eventually overcoming Ukrainian Viktoriia Dema, 2-6, 7-6 (2), 7-6 (5), in the Girls’ 18s first round at the Veltri Center.
If her name sounds familiar, Black’s older sister, Tornado Alicia, was a junior star in her own right, reaching the 2013 US Open girls’ singles final and ascending as high as No. 3 in the junior rankings. Now 19, Tornado Alicia recently made news for successfully crowdfunding the money necessary to repair a hip injury that put her pro career on hold.
The younger sister, on a weather-delayed afternoon in Plantation, Fla., fought through what she described as her first full-body cramp that began in her left thigh while she was two points away from winning the match.
“I was up 5-4, 30-15, in the third set, and I started cramping in my left thigh,” Black said. “They did treatment on it. They rubbed it out. I walked back on the court, played the next point, and it was 40-30, and my forearm starts cramping. My hand starts cramping. Both my legs start cramping again.”
She would get broken, then go down, 6-5, before holding to get to the decisive tiebreak.
“It was just really tough, but I realized I had to fight through it because I was so close,” said Black. “I just tried as hard as I could. I just went for all of my shots. If I won, I won. If I lost, I lost. I just needed to play my best tennis and try my hardest for that.
“In the tiebreaker, I just realized the first tiebreaker I played in the second set I won pretty easily, and I played freely. So I was just like, ‘I’ll try to do that again and do my best.’”
It seemed to work, along with some encouragement from Black’s coach, Lawrence Carpio.
“He was encouraging me a lot,” she said. “He saw I was cramping, and I was freaking out and crying, and he was like, 'It’s OK. It’s OK.' He was just encouraging me a lot, and it helped so much.”
What figures to be a main attraction of the Girls’ 18s draw came to fruition on Tuesday, as top-seeded and No. 1-ranked Whitney Osuigwe won her first-round match over Romanian Selma Cadar, 6-0, 6-2, to set up a second-round matchup with US Open girls’ finalist Coco Gauff on Wednesday.
Full results and live-scoring can be found here.
Photo: Hurricane Tyra Black (credit: Andrew Ong)