Paula Ormaechea, a member of Argentina’s Fed Cup squad, is this months featured player. During November Ormaechea, 17, who made her Fed Cup debut earlier this year, competed in three $10,000 clay court tournaments in three countries within South America.
The first port of call on her mini tour of the South American continent was the Argentinean capital city of Buenos Aires. Located on the western shore of the estuary of the Rio de la Plata, on the continents southeastern coast, Ormaechea was looking to improve on her last visit to the city, which resulted in a second round finish in August 2009. As an unseeded player, Ormaechea got off to a great start winning in straight sets, 64 61, over Brazilian qualifier Flavia Borges. The second round saw her again up against an opponent who had come through the qualifying event, this time it was Chile’s Camila Silva. Ormaechea looked to be heading for a comfortable win but having taken the opening set with the loss of just two games she then dropped the next set 64. The deciding set saw Ormaechea rediscover her form of the first set and she wrapped up a 62 46 62 victory. In the quarter final she stunned the No. 1 seed, Ana-Clara Duarte from Brazil, in straight sets 64 60. Ormaechea was then forced to come from behind against the third seed, Aranza Salut, a fellow Argentinean. Having failed to win a game in the opening set of their semi final clash, Ormaechea recovered to win 06 62 75, to take her through to a second career singles final on the ITF Pro Circuit. In the final she faced another player from Argentina, Veronica Spiegel, the No. 6 seed. The first two sets were evenly matched with Ormaechea taking the first 64 and Spiegel levelling the match with a 63 success in the second. At one set all, Ormaechea upped her game and, with the loss of just two games, won the deciding set and with it her career first singles title on the ITF Pro Circuit. In the doubles event she reached the quarterfinal with Uruguayan partner Maria-Eugenia Torres where they lost in straight sets to the eventual champions.
After a one-week break from competitive play, Ormaechea once again took to the courts when she entered into another $10,000 tournament, this time in Paraguay. Held in Asuncion, one of the oldest cities in South America and the capital of Paraguay, she was again unseeded as she began her quest for the title. After opening her campaign with a crushing 61 62 triumph over Chile’s Cecilia Costa Melgar, things got a lot tougher in the second round. Up against fifth seeded Tatiana Bua from Argentina, Ormaechea edged a close first set 64 before dropping the next set 7-3 on a tiebreak. In the deciding set, Ormaechea dominated and soon wrapped up a 64 67(3) 61 victory to set up a quarterfinal against another Argentinean player, the unseeded, Lucia Jara-Lozano. Ormaechea again needed three sets to secure victory and a very tight 76(4) 57 63 win took her into the semi final where she faced the No. 3 seed from Brazil, Roxane Vaisemberg. For the first time in this tournament, Ormaechea found herself having to come from behind to earn the win. Having lost the opening set 63 she recovered to take the next two sets 62 64 and reach her second final of the month. Ormaechea began the tournament with a match against Chilean opposition and that was also how she was going to end it as she faced Andrea Koch-Benvenuto across the net for the title. Koch-Benvenuto, the No. 7 seed, took the opening set of this final 64, a score line then reversed by Ormaechea in the second set to level the match and take the final into a decisive third set. After two closely matched sets, it might have come as something of a surprise to those watching when Ormaechea secured the title with the loss of just two games in the final set. The doubles event again saw Ormaechea defeated by the eventual tournament champions, this time with Paraguayan partner Isabella Robbiani.
For her final tournament of the month, Ormaechea travelled to the fifth largest city in Latin America, Lima, the largest and capital city of Peru. Located in the valleys of the Chillon, Rimac and Lurin rivers, on a coast overlooking the Pacific Ocean, Lima was hosting a $10,000 tournament and Ormaechea was named the No. 6 seed. There was, however, to be no repeat of her singles title successes in Argentina and Paraguay as following convincing 63 60 and 61 60 victories in the first two rounds, she was defeated in three sets, 57 63 64 at the quarterfinal stage by her opponent from the previous week’s final, Andrea Koch-Benvenuto, also the tournaments No. 1 seed. For the third tournament in succession, Ormaechea competed in the doubles event with a different partner, this time she teamed with Argentina’s Agustina Sol Eskenazi. Together they reached the final, Ormaechea’s first since an appearance in October 2008, coincidentally also in Lima. The final saw them take on the top seeds from Chile, Cecilia Costa Melgar & Andrea Koch-Benvenuto, both singles opponents of Ormaechea this week and last. A 61 63 win for the No. 1 seeds leaves Ormaechea still looking for a first doubles title, but at just 17-years old, she has time on her side.
With her first two tournament singles titles now under her belt, Ormaechea will be looking to push on from here in 2010 as she continues to climb the rankings ladder, which saw her reach a career high in singles of 582 on November 30th 2009.