All-U.S. singles, doubles finals in
Orange Bowl girls' 16s
Pat Mitsch | December 8, 2018
PLANTATION, Fla. – If a successful tennis nation is measured by its performance at every level of the game, then what’s happening at the Orange Bowl junior tennis championships in Plantation, Fla., this weekend certainly portends well for the United States in the women’s game.
Americans Carson Tanguilig and Elise Wagle won an all-American girls’ 16s doubles final on the Frank Veltri Center’s green clay on Friday, the first domino to fall in what could be a red-white-and-blue sweep of the Orange Bowl girls’ singles and doubles titles in both the 18s and 16s age groups.
Tanguilig and Wagle, two 15-year-olds from Alpharetta, Ga., and Niskayuna, N.Y., respectively, came from a set down to beat countrywomen Ava Catanzarite (16, Franklin Park, Pa.) and Allie Gretkowski (15, Mt. Pleasant, S.C.), 4-6, 7-6, 10-6. ADVERTISEMENT It was the pair’s second junior doubles title together this fall, and they’ve paired up on and off since winning the Girls’ 12s title at the Easter Bowl in 2016.
“We have similar game styles, and we understand how each other plays,” said Wagle. “The dynamic just works.”
“It definitely shows us what we can do as a doubles pair,” Tanguilig said. “It just gave us a lot of confidence.”
On Saturday, 15-year-old Madison Sieg, from Greenwich, Conn., and 16-year-old India Houghton, 16, from Belvedere Tiburon, Calif., will square off for the girls’ 16s singles title.
Sieg (pictured above) beat Kazakhstan’s Yelizaveta Karlova, 7-6, 6-3, to reach her second straight singles final, after the run she made last week to the title match at the Eddie Herr championships in Bradenton, Fla. Though she lost that match, that tournament was played on hard courts. The Orange Bowl, of course, is played on clay, which Sieg says is her favorite surface.
“I think I’m serving really well and moving really well on the clay, so I think that’s a big factor,” said Sieg, who grew up training with coach Rick Ferman in Greenwich, but now splits time between there and the Evert Academy in Boca Raton, Fla., where she does her clay-court training.
“I had a good Eddie Herr, but I never thought I’d be making the finals [at the Orange Bowl]. So I’m really excited. But I knew I could do well if I played well.”
Then, at the girls’ 18s level, top seed and former junior world No. 1 Coco Gauff, from Delray Beach, Fla., and Emma Navarro, a 17-year old from Charleston, S.C., both advanced to the semifinals on Friday, while three of the four girls’ 18s doubles semifinal pairs are all-American teams.
But an American boy turned in the biggest upset of the day, as 16-year-old wild card Zane Khan cut down sixth-seeded Jonas Forejtek, of the Czech Republic, 7-6, 2-6, 7-5. It was Khan’s third victory over a seeded player in the four matches he’s played here, when he almost didn’t play here at all. Khan has been nursing an injury to his right shoulder that almost kept him out of the tournament, but he now finds himself into the boys’ 18s semifinals.
It's safe to say the shoulder’s feeling better, as he gets ready to face Brazilian Mateus Alves in Saturday’s semis.
“Going into the tournament, I wasn’t even sure if I was going to play, because I felt a lot of pain in my shoulder, much more than now,” said Khan, who is originally a product of New Braunfels, Texas, but is now training out of former world No. 4 Sebastien Grosjean’s new academy at Boca West Country Club in Boca Raton. “I was very close to retiring. My uncle was about to call the tournament director here and pull me out. But my other coaches told me just to go out there and have fun. Also my uncle said I had nothing to lose.”
Dali Blanch, 15, of Deerfield Beach, Fla., will meet Pablo Llamas Ruiz, of Spain, in the boys’ 16s singles final on Saturday. Blanch, the No. 1 seed, beat fourth-seeded Kokura Isomura, 7-6, 6-1.
Angel Guerrero Melgar and Pablo Llamas Ruiz, of Spain, won the Boys’ 16s doubles title over Bohua Dong and Haoyuan Huang, of China, 6-1, 6-1.
In addition to the 16s singles finals and 18s singles semis, Saturday’s order of play also features semifinal play in the boys’ and girls’ 18s draws. For complete schedules, results, live scoring and more, visit the Orange Bowl website.
Photo Credit: Andrew Ong/USTA