06 Dec 2017

Gauff & Osuigwe set for second round Orange Bowl match

News Article

By Sandra Harwitt

Photo: Srdjan StevanovicCori Gauff (USA)

The Orange Bowl International Tennis Championship will feature an intriguing all-American second-round match on Wednesday between world No. 1 Whitney Osuigwe, the reigning Roland Garros champion, and Cori “Coco” Gauff, the 13-year-old who was the U.S. Open girls’ finalist.

Gauff earned her second-round berth with a 63 61 win over Anastasia Iamachkine of Peru on Monday. Osuigwe set up the second-round battle by taking a 60 62 win over Selma Stefania Cadar of Romania on Tuesday.

The 65th-ranked Gauff had a dream run through the US Open draw to become the youngest ever US Open junior girls’ finalist since the event began in 1974. She eventually met her match in fellow American Amanda Anisimova, who won her first Grand Slam singles title with a 60 62 win, but Gauff certainly became a player of note.

Gauff comes by her athletic skills from her parents, who were college sports stars. Her dad, Corey, played basketball at Georgia State, while her mother Candi ran track at Florida State.

One of the best recommendations regarding Gauff is that she happens to be associated with Patrick Mouratoglou, who just so happens to be Serena Williams’ coach. His partnership with Williams, which commenced in 2012, has produced 10 Grand Slam titles.

Mouratoglou took notice of Gauff when she was 11-years-old and was impressed to the point that he invited her to be a part of his Champ’ seed Foundation, which helps young talents realize their potential.

Gauff is already an Orange Bowl champion having won the under-12 title.

It will be a first meeting between Osuigwe and Gauff, and being that both reside in Florida - Gauf in nearby Delray Beach, Osuigwe on the West coast of the state - there will be a lot of interest in this second-rounder.

The 15-year-old Osuigwe arrived in Plantation, Fla., for the Orange Bowl following a successful week at the Grade 1 Eddie Herr International. She not only won the singles title with a three-set win over Clara Burel of France, but teamed with fellow American Caty McNally to score the doubles trophy.

The eighth-seeded McNally also advanced to the second round on Tuesday, defeating lucky loser Willa Bay Breunich of USA 63 61.

Another local entrant to advance to the second round was Hurricane Tyra Black, who had a tough ask in bypassing Viktoria Dema of Ukraine 26 76 (2) 76 (5).

Two girls’ seeds were benched by tenacious challengers on Tuesday. Third seed Elysia Bolton of USA was upset by Margaryta Bilokin of Ukraine 63 60, and 11th seed Ellie Douglas of USA was sent packing by Andreea Prisacariu of Romania 61 64.

Top seed Timofey Skatov of Russia posted a 60 61 win over Jaycer Lyeons of USA in his first match at the Orange Bowl on Tuesday.

Skatov’s been playing top notch tennis of late, reaching the finals of the last two tournaments he played. Skatov fell to Adrian Andreev of Bulgaria 64 61 in the Eddie Herr final last weekend, and lost to Yuta Shimizu of Japan 63 76 (5) in the Grade A Osaka Mayor’s Cup final.

Two boys’ seeds exited the Orange Bowl on Tuesday. Third-seeded Nicolas Mejia of Colombia was ousted by 212th-ranked qualifier Marcelo Sepulveda Garza of Mexico. Tenth-seeded Stefan Palosi of Romania lost a 67 (3) 75 76 (1) marathon to Andrew Paulson of Czech Republic.