Photo: Susan MullaneAna Konjuh (CRO)
Fourteen-year-old Ana Konjuh of Croatia continued her impressive streak of form at the Orange Bowl International Championships when she knocked out No. 1 Taylor Townsend (USA) 46 61 63 in the Girls’ 18s’ semi-finals.
Konjuh now stands on the brink of joining a Girls’ 18s honour roll at the Grade A event that includes illustrious previous winners like Chris Evert, Gabriela Sabatini, Elena Dementieva and Anna Kournikova.
“This morning I woke up pretty tired, but I felt fine on the court,” said Townsend, who secured the year-end Girls’ World No.1 position on Saturday. “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. There wasn’t much I could do, really.”
Konjuh beat all before her to win the Eddie Herr International Junior Championship 18s title ahead of hitting the claycourts of the Frank Veltri Tennis Center in Plantation, Florida. On current form she should prove a challenge for World No. 2 Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic when they face each other in the 2012 Orange Bowl final on Sunday. Siniakova,
who narrowly lost out to Townsend in the race to end the season as No.1, defeated No. 6 Marcela Zacarias of Mexico, 46 62 63 in their semi-final.
“I have a lot of self-confidence right now, so I’m mentally strong,” said Konjuh. “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 face off on Sunday for the Boys’ 18s singles title after Djere ended the run of No. 9 Thai-Son Kwiatkowski with a 64 64 win. Djere should be highly motivated after coming close to winning the Eddie Herr International - he was a 60 41 up on Christian Garin (CHI) in the Boys’ 18s’ Singles final there only to be pegged back and end as runner-up. Ymer proved too much for No. 8 Filippo Baldi of Italy, winning 62 75 in their Orange Bowl 18s’ semi-final.
The list of former winners of the Boys’ 18s’ title at the Orange Bowl is just as impressive as the
roster of female winners and either Djere or Ymer could follow in the footsteps of previous champions like John McEnroe, Roger Federer, Bjorn Borg and Andy Roddick.
Meanwhile, in the Orange Bowl doubles, the all-USA team of Townsend and Gabrielle Andrews will meet Mexicans Victoria Rodriguez and Marcela Zacarias in Sunday’s Girls’ 18s’ doubles final. Townsend and Andrews won the Girls’ Doubles Australian Open title (where Townsend completed a clean sweep of trophies) in January this year and went to be runners-up in the US Open Girls’ Doubles competition.
Garin and Nicolas Jarry (USA) will play Lithuania’s Lukas Mugevicius and Russia’s Alexander Vasilenko in the Boys’ 18s ‘ doubles final.