07 Dec 2017

Noel upset by Beck at Orange Bowl

News Article

By Sandra Harwitt

Photo: Srdjan StevanovicAlexa Noel (USA)

It was a good day for seeded girls at the Orange Bowl International Tennis Championship on Wednesday, with only one of the 11 remaining seeds failing to reach the third round.

The lone upset came to second-seeded Alexa Noel of the USA, who lost to compatriot, and wildcard, Chloe Beck 63 63. Playing singles at the Orange Bowl for the first time, 228th-ranked Beck is ranked 102 places behind Noel and her best result this year is winning the Grade 4 International Grass Court event in Haverford, Pennsylvania in June.

Scoring the victory over Noel was a big win considering the 15-year-old American has been the red-hot player in the girls’ game in recent weeks. Currently ranked No. 20, Noel won the last two tournaments she played - the Grade A Abierto Juvenil Mexicano and the Grade 1 Yucatan Cup. Noel was on a 13-match winning streak until she ran into the determined Beck.

“I didn’t go out there thinking of her as someone that was better than me,” said the 16-year-old Beck of Noel, who she’d beaten once in their previous four meetings. “’Okay, she’s 20 in the world and I’m 200, so she’s automatically better than me.’ I didn’t think that way at all. But I was like, ‘I know it’s going to be a good match, and I’m just going to go out there and play smart clay-court tennis and not worry about it if she hits some really good drop shots, which I knew was going to happen, and it did. I just decided to keep playing spin, loops and trying to slice at her a little bit, and then taking my chance when I had it.”

Receiving a nod for perseverance, 13th-seeded Hurricane Tyra Black marched into the third round with a 61 64 win over Kianah Motosono of the USA a day after suffering full body cramps in her first round match.

The 16-year-old, who lives nearby to the Orange Bowl’s Plantation location, needed all of the courage she could muster to win her first round match over Viktoriia Dema of the Ukraine 26 76(2) 76(5) on Tuesday. Black was ahead 5-4, 30-15 in the third set, was broken and behind 5-6 before coming through a third set tiebreaker.

After the match she spoke with the USTA about the experience.

“I was up 5-4, 30-15, in the third set, and I started cramping in my left thigh,” Black said. “They did treatment on it. They rubbed it out. I walked back on the court, played the next point, and it was 40-30, and my forearm starts cramping. My hand starts cramping. Both my legs start cramping again.

“It was just really tough, but I realised I had to fight through it because I was so close,” Black added. “I just tried as hard as I could. I just went for all of my shots. If I won, I won. If I lost, I lost. I just needed to play my best tennis and try my hardest for that. In the tiebreaker, I just realised the first tiebreaker I played in the second set I won pretty easily, and I played freely. So I was just like, ‘I’ll try to do that again and do my best.’”

In another second-round match of note, world No. 1 Whitney Osuigwe, who won last week’s Eddie Herr title, had to work for a 62 36 61 win over fellow American Cori Gauff, 13, a surprise US Open finalist in September.

In contrast, it was a difficult day for boys’ seeds at the Orange Bowl when six of the 12 remaining seeds in play were beaten by tenacious opponents.

Those who fell were fourth-seeded Juan Manuel Cerundolo of Argentina, fifth-seeded Andrew Fenty of USA, sixth-seeded Tao Mu of China, seventh-seeded Alexandre Rotsaert of USA, 12th-seeded Carlos Lopez Montagud of Spain, and 13th-seeded Drew Baird of USA.

All in all, only six seeds from the original 16 remain in contention with the first two rounds of action completed at the Orange Bowl.

Chief amongst the survivors are the top two seeds - top seed Timofey Skatov of Russia and second seed Uisung Park of Korea. Skatov posted a 62 76(5) win over Leopold Zima of Germany, while Park was a 62 63 winner over Brian Shi of USA.

The other seeded boys still in the mix are: eighth-seeded Ondrej Styler of Czech Republic, 11th-seeded Hugo Gaston of France, 14th-seeded Aidan McHugh of Great Britain, and 15th-seeded George Loffhagen of Great Britain.