17 Nov 2017

Osuigwe & Noel to vie for Abierto Juvenil Mexicano title

News Article

By Sandra Harwitt

Photo: Srdjan StevanovicAlexa Noel (USA)

It will be a first-time meeting, and an all-American final, between two 15-year-olds when world No. 1 Whitney Osuigwe takes on 161st-ranked Alexa Noel at the Abierto Juvenil Mexicano.

On Friday, Osuigwe positioned herself in the final with a 61 75 win over fifth seed Lulu Sun of Switzerland, while Noel defeated fellow unseeded participant Andreea Prisacariu of Romania 75 75.

Osuigwe, who trains under the direction of her father Desmond, a coach at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, has been a true standout in the junior girls’ game this season.

When Osuigwe, who accepted a wildcard invitation into the Abierto Juvenil Mexicano, takes on Noel in the final she will be hoping to win her fifth title of 2017.

Osuigwe started the season on a high note when she won back-to-back titles at the Asuncion Bowl in Paraguay and the Banana Bowl in Brazil. In June, Osuigwe won her first Grand Slam trophy at Roland Garros, winning a hard fought battle over older - and more experienced - fellow American Claire Liu.

This autumn, Osuigwe won her fourth title of the season at the Pan American ITF Championship in Tulsa, Okalhoma. Between the win in Tulsa and playing in Mexico City, Osuigwe reached the final of the Grade A Osaka Mayor’s Cup and placed third at the ITF Junior Masters in Chengdu, China.

Noel, a native of New Jersey, doesn’t come to the court with as impressive of a resume as Osuigwe. She’s yet to win a title this season, and the only international event of note she’s taken home the trophy from was at the Grade 4 International Grass Courts in Haverford, Pennsylvania in June 2016.

This week in Mexico City, Noel’s been playing exceptional tennis and was responsible for removing two seeds from the competition; 14th seed Loudmilla Bencheikh of France in the second round, and third seed Ellie  Douglas of USA in the third round.

And it should be noted that while Osuigwe was pushed to three sets by fellow American Peyton Stearns in the third round, Noel’s yet to drop a set en route to the final.

The boys’ competition is ready for semifinal action in Mexico City with three of the four players remaining being seeded - top seed Sebastian Korda of USA, fifth seed Thiago Agustin Tirante of Argentina, and 13th seed Filip Cristian Jianu of Romania.

Korda defeated eighth seed Stefan Palosi of Romania 62 61, Tirante ousted fourth seed Nicolas Mejia of Colombia 64 46 61, and Jianu defeated seventh seed Juan Manuel Cerundolo of Argentina 46 75 63.

Joining in on the semifinal showdown is 192nd-ranked Drew Baird of the USA, who upset ninth seed Nick Hardt of Dominican Republic 63 63.

Interestingly, just like Noel, Baird also has the trophy from the International Grass Courts event, but his honor was picked up this year. He also won the Grade 4 Santa Domingo, Dominican Republic title this season, and reached the final of the Grade 4 Costa Rica Bowl from the qualifying competition.