It was a great Eddie Herr tournament for Team Elite boys from the United States, with Alex Domijan winning the 18s title, Raymond Sarmiento capturing the 16s crown and Alex Halebian taking the 14s championship at the prestigious competition held at the IMG/Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Bradenton, Fla.
Domijan, a finalist at the 2007 Eddie Herr, took the ITF Grade 1 title, his second of the year, with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over fellow Team Elite member Julen Uriguen of Guatemala. The match was chaired by ATP and Grand Slam chair umpire Lars Graff.
The 14th-seeded Domijan, a 17-year-old from Wesley Chapel, Florida, subdue Uriguen, who had downed three seeds en route to the final. Uriguen challenged the 6-foot-6 Domijan, but had difficulty with the cool and windy conditions.
"I think he got affected by the wind more than I did," said Domijan, who put the victory at the top of his list of tennis accomplishments.
In the 16s, top seed Raymond Sarmiento breezed through the draw without dropping a set, taking out unseeded Jack Carpenter of Great Britain in the final 6-1, 6-2
Sarmiento, who uses a wasn't put off by the challenging conditions.
"The wind helped me a little bit; I like playing in the wind," said the 16-year-old from Fontana, California. "I like to know where the wind is and to use it to your advantage."
Fellow Team Elite member Carpenter was impressed with Sarmiento's performance against him.
"I was struggling a little bit, and he hit the ball the same, as if it wasn't windy," Carpenter said. "It felt like I played quite well, despite losing 6-1, 6-2, which goes to show how well he played."
Alex Halebian of Glendale, California won the boys 14s and he too dismissed a fellow Team Elite member. The unseeded left-hander defeated No. 4 seed Pedro Guimaraes of Brazil 6-1, 6-1. Guimaraes, who uses a couldn't find his rhythm against Halebian, who was a member of the U.S. team that won the ITF World Junior 14-and-under Team Competition this summer.
"It's a great feeling when you go out and win and can be on the champions list, with all the great players that have won it," said Halebian, 14. "It's a great feeling."
In the girls 18s, Team Elite member Heather Watson of Great Britain continued her outstanding play of late, reaching the final unseeded before falling to No. 9 seed Lauren Embree 6-0, 6-1. Watson, who uses a had just captured the ITF Grade 1 Yucatan Cup the week prior to the Eddie Herr, and won several difficult matches in the earlier rounds, but in the final, the fatigue of so much winning began to show.
In addition to Watson, Vicky Duval, another Bolliettieri-trained girl, also turned in outstanding results at the Eddie Herr. As the No. 5 seed in the girls 14s, Duval, who plays with a reached the semifinals before falling to Nadia Echeverria Alam of Miami, Florida.
All the Head Team Elite players take their racquets and increased confidence from outstanding performances at the Eddie Herr to Miami for the year-ending Orange Bowl and Junior Orange Bowl competitions.