Osuigwe, Beck among Day 3
Orange Bowl winners
Pat Mitsch | December 7, 2017
There’s a difference between winning and ‘winning at any cost.’ Consider Chloe Beck proof positive that the two are not one in the same.
On a day at the Orange Bowl headlined by a matchup between two of the most promising American girls’ prospects, Beck (pictured above) quietly produced the biggest upset of the tournament thus far, at least in terms of ranking, defeating compatriot and No. 2 seed Alexa Noel, 6-3, 6-3, in a second-round Girls’ 18s match at the Veltri Tennis Center in Plantation, Fla.
While top-seeded Whitney Osuigwe, the 15-year-old French Open girls’ champ from Bradenton, Fla., overcame 13-year-old Delray Beach, Fla., native Coco Gauff, 6-2, 3-6, 6-1, in a match pitting the world’s No. 1-ranked junior (Osuigwe) against the youngest-ever US Open girls’ finalist (Gauff), Beck also took another step toward an Orange Bowl title she believes she can win, even as a wild-card entry ranked No. ADVERTISEMENT 228 in the world junior standings.
“I didn’t go out there thinking of her as someone that was better than me,” said Beck of Noel, whom she’d beaten once in their previous four meetings. “’OK, she’s [No.] 20 in the world and I’m 200, so she’s automatically better than me.’ I didn’t think that way at all. But I was like, ‘I know it’s going to be a good match, and I’m just going to go out there and play smart clay-court tennis and not worry about it if she hits some really good drop shots,' which I knew was going to happen, and it did.
“I just decided to keep playing spin, loops and trying to slice at her a little bit and then taking my chance when I had it.”
The 16-year-old from Watkinsville, Ga., now has an easier path through the bottom half of the Orange Bowl girls’ draw; she meets 14th-seeded Canadian Layne Sleeth in the third round on Thursday. And Beck is a player who’s easy to root for, as she’s produced an exceptional moment of sportsmanship on the court, and in a national championship, no less.
In a round-of-16 match two summers ago at the USTA Girls’ 16s National Clay Court Championships versus American Vanessa Ong, Beck forfeited the match by making a hindrance call on herself after hitting what she thought was a match-point-saving winner.
“We were both grinding so hard, and we were both really into the match, saying ‘Come on!’ kind of in each other’s faces. We were on good terms, but we were both really into it,” Beck said. “She hit kind of a weak shot, and I hit a big shot that I thought was a winner and said, ‘Come on!’ just instinctively because I was so happy that I hit a good shot. But she ended up getting it back, and I was like, ‘Oh, it’s your point. You can’t do that.’
“I had a couple people come up to me and say that it was a good thing that I did that and that they hadn’t seen anything like that before. In the end, I think I did the right thing, and me losing that one match isn’t going to, like, make a difference in my tennis career.”
Thursday at the Orange Bowl features the Boys’ and Girls’ 16s singles quarterfinals and the third-round singles matches in the 18s divisions.
Full results and live-scoring can be found here.