Photo: Marcelo RuschelJil Belen Teichmann (SUI) and Orlando Luz (BRA)
The home crowd cheered Brazilian native Orlando Luz throughout the one hour, 20 minute boys singles final of the Grade A Campeonato Internacional Juvenil de Tenis de Porto Alegre.
The strategy worked — the sixth seed Luz became the 2014 champion with a 64 62 win over ninth-seeded Clement Geens of Belgium.
It certainly didn’t hurt that the 16-year-old Luz is from nearby Carazinho, part of the Rio Grande do Sul state in which Porto Alegre is also located.
“The score does not reflect how hard the match really was,’ Luz admitted. “Geens is a great player and has a style very different from my own. His game is slower, but he moves really fast, he was on to every ball I played. At times this was a bit hard for me to face.”
Luz has definitely been the big winner on the recent South American junior circuit. He came to the Porto Alegre tournament having won the previous two titles at the Asuncion Bowl in Paraguay and the Banana Bowl in São José dos Campos.
Luz is the first Brazilian since Thiago Monteiro in 2011 to win the Campeonato Internacional Juvenil de Tenis de Porto Alegre.
Luz, who had many friends and family from Carazinho watching him play the final, had this to say of his three weeks of success: “I come from two straight titles, this is the third one, but nothing beats winning on my grounds.”
Geens, who turned 18 on March 11, was hoping to win his first Grade A junior title, but he only had admiration for the way Luz scored his third consecutive title.
“I can only compliment Orlando on his great winning streak,” Geens said. “He’s had an amazing three weeks and really deserves to win here before his crowd.”
Luz’s female counterpart turned out to be 13th-seeded Jil Belen Teichmann of Switzerland. The 16-year-old Teichmann earned a very hard fought 36 64 76 (10) win over 14th-seeded Aliona Bolsova Zadoinov of Spain.
The match took a long two hours, 50 minutes to conclude and both players understood that their final encounter could have gone either way. Neither player had hard feelings towards the other following the match, hugging at the net with appreciation for the fight they both displayed.
As it turns out, both Teichmann and Zadoinov have ties to Spain and are close friends.
Teichmann was born in Barcelona, but moved to Switzerland with her family when she was 10. Zadoinov was born in Moldova but moved to Barcelona after her parents competed in the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games and fell in love with the city.
From the time they were both nine years old, they started traveling around the Spanish junior tournaments together.
For Teichmann, the win marks her first ever international title and she was overjoyed to be a champion.
“I have no words," Teichmann said. “I don’t know what to say, this is my first time winning a title.”
Teichmann was happy that her coach, Kai Stenterbach, was there to see her first win: “He is always there for me, always supporting me and helping me, I am so grateful.”
For both players the match required patience and persistence as there were many long rallies. Teichmann started to turn things in her favor when she broke serve in the first game of the second set.
But be assured, Bolsova Zadoinov never surrendered. She overcame Teichmann serving twice for the match in the third set to force the tie-break. Both players had match points before Teichmann took advantage of her fourth opportunity to win the match, sealing the victory in style with an ace.
And how did Teichmann celebrate her victory? She laid down on the clay court.
“It was a very intense week and this tournament will always be very special to me for being my first title,” Teichmann said, “I am so, so, so happy.”
Click here for full results and draws