Unseeded Chanelle Van Nguyen captured the girls 16s title at the Dunlop Orange Bowl last week, capping an impressive array of performances by Team Elite members at the prestigious international junior tournament in Florida.
The fourteen-year-old Miami resident added a local flavor to the Key Biscayne event, and her 6-3, 5-7, 6-4 win in the final over No. 3 seed Madison Keys of Boca Raton, Fla. gave her hometown fans plenty of thrills. Van Nguyen took a 6-3, 5-2 lead, but Keys battled back, saving two match points in the second set. Van Nguyen started the third set with a 3-0 lead, and although it took her four more match points to subdue Keys, Van Nguyen earned the winner's bowl of oranges.
"It feels really good," said Van Nguyen, who admitted she had begun cramping late in the two-and-a-half-hour match. "I'm really happy."
Van Nguyen had picked up a big quarterfinal win over another Team Elite member from the U.S., Grace Min, but Min and her partner Lauren Herring, also of the U.S., got a measure of revenge, taking out Van Nguyen and her partner Kelsey Laurente in the second round, then going on to win the 16s girls doubles title. The unseeded Herring and Min, who plays a beat the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds, although the final match wasn't played due to the illness of Emi Mutaguchi of Japan.
In the boys 16s, Team Elite member Mitchell Frank had an outstanding tournament, with the 12th seed reaching the final before falling to top seed and fellow Virginian Denis Kudla 6-0, 6-2. Frank had surprised No. 2 seed and Eddie Herr 16s champion Raymond Sarmiento, also a Team Elite player, in the semifinals.
"I definitely had a good tournament," the 16-year-old Frank said. "If you were to tell me last week I'd be in the finals of the Orange Bowl, I'd take that. It was a good feeling, good memories."
Team Elite members also had a major impact in the 18s competition, with Christina McHale reaching the girls singles final and Chase Buchanan playing in the boys doubles final.
McHale, an unseeded wild card, took a tense three-set win over Junior Fed Cup teammate Sloane Stephens, who plays with a Stephens had raised eyebrows when she downed top seed Ana Bogdan of Romania in the quarterfinals without losing a game, ending Bogdan's hopes of finishing the year as the ITF World Junior Champion.
McHale, a 16-year-old from New Jersey, played an outstanding championship match but could not overcome 17-year-old Californian Julia Boserup, who took a 6-4, 2-6, 6-3 decision.
Ohio's Chase Buchanan and partner Yuki Bhambri of India, who collected the boys 18s singles trophy, dropped the championship doubles contest 7-6(7), 6-2 to Eddie Herr champions Devin Britton and Jarmere Jenkins.
Boys 18s Eddie Herr champion Alex Domijan had another impressive week defeating ITF World Junior Champion and top seed Tsung-Hua Yang of Chinese Taipei in the third round before falling to Jenkins in the semifinals.