By Jason Barron
Hailey Baptiste and Cori Gauff both posted wins in the ITF Pro Circuit Event in Osprey, Florida this week. The event is the clay court tournament, running from May 21st-May 27th where Cori lost in the round of 16 to 4th seeded Katherine Stewart 7-6, 6-3. However, Hailey was able to advance to the quarterfinals after defeating 8th seed Maria Mateas 6-3, 6-4 today.
Both players are top juniors, with Cori, 14 and Hailey, 16 who are accumulating Pro Circuit ITF points at young ages. This is a good template for them to test their skills. Tiafoe and other players have benefitted from playing on the ITF Pro Circuit and had success before playing on the Pro Tour. Cori has in the past stated that she wants to be the greatest of all time. If she can continue on her path then it is likely that she can achieve great things in her career.
Cori has already showed tremendous versatility in her game with having an advanced skill set that will allow her to be a consistent pro player. Cori has developed power on both sides (forehand and backhand) at this early stage in her career.
At this current ITF Event, Cori played 3 qualifying matches beating older players to make the main draw. In her first main draw win Gauff beat Moldovain player, Alexandra Perper, 6-2, 6-3. Perper is 26, 12 years Cori’s senior. It is pretty amazing for Cori to already be getting wins against older, more experienced players. Her game has advanced past her years, and she is really developing good habits from an early age.
Katerina Stewart, 20 – who recently advanced to the Semifinals of the Charleston ITF Event before losing to eventual champion, Taylor Townsend – was able to finally down Cori in two sets. It was a good test for Cori against an experienced pro and one of the better players in the tournament. Cori will need to continue to play matches at this level in order to gain experience and have more success.
Hailey is having a breakout tournament after winning 3 matches to qualify and subsequently defeating Amanda Rodgers, 7-6 (7-2), 6-4. Baptiste will next play 1st seed Deniz Khazaniuk of Israel in the quarterfinals. This should be a competitive match as Baptiste looks to build off of her previous round of 16 performance at an ITF Event in Tampa, Florida.
Hailey and Cori are both young players who have showed they belong on the ITF Pro Circuit and can continue to win matches at the professional level. Hailey is set to play their next matches on Friday, May 25th. Both Baptiste and Gauff have great potential and this ITF event is really showing what they are capable of; hopefully Hailey can ride this momentum into her first ITF title win.
Robin Montgomery advances to Easter Bowl Finals
By Editorial Team (Updated Results)
Robin Montgomery reached the finals of the Easter Bowl this year without losing a set. Her impressive play earned her a title match against the top seed and WTA Tour ranked 565, Emma Navarro tomorrow.
If the past is any predictor of the future, Robin should be able to squeeze her way into the finals this weekend. She would play the winner of Lea Ma and Emma Jackson.
The number one seed Tyra Black was easily defeated today 6-4, 7-6 by 16 year old Jackson so the draw is wide open for a big run into the final round. Robin would likely face Emma Navarro in the final assuming there are no further upsets.
The live feed of all the matches can be seen at http://www.easterbowl.com/
CoCo Gauff turns pro after winning 2018 Orange Bowl title
By Editorial Team
CoCo Gauff was able to dominate the field in her home state of Florida this weekend with a statement win over Diane Parry 6-0, 6-0 to advance to the final round where she had to overcome a third set deficit against 2nd seeded Qinwen Zheng of China to eventually prevail 6-4 in the third and final set.
When asked how she was able to manage her emotions during the match, CoCo responded, “My dad told me at the beginning of the tournament, ‘This is probably your last junior tournament, so play how you want to be remembered,’” Gauff said. “And that’s how I was thinking. People mostly know me to always fight, and even when I was down, I was like, ‘That’s how I want to be remembered,’ at least in junior tennis, and see what the next chapter has for me.”
In addition to winning the 2018 Orange Bowl, CoCo committed to playing a full season of professional tennis beginning in 2019. She will bypass all junior grand slams and primarily play the World Tour Tennis 25 series of tournaments in effort to boost her current top 700 ranking in order to qualify for larger professional grand slam tournaments.
Her goal is to reach the top 200 by the end of 2019. With the hard work and focus that she has exhibited over the last several months, CoCo is sure to gain her footing in the pro ranks and make a huge impact on the WTA Tour at the young age of 14. Coco is definitely the future of American tennis.
Gauff, Black capture doubles title in Yucatan HSBC Junior Open
By Editorial Team
Cori “CoCo” Gauff and Hurricane Tyra Black teamed up as an unlikely pairing for the red clay Yucatan HSBC Junior Open in Mexico this week after Tyra won the Copa Mundial Campeche doubles title last week with Turkish partner Selin Ovunc. Their road to the final was very comfortable as the #1 seeded team, defeating fellow young Americans, Savannah Broadus and Kylie Collins, in the semifinals 6-4, 6-2. However, Giulia Morlet (France) and Adrienn Nagy (Hungary) were up for the challenge as they were able to narrowly escape their first round match against the #4 seed 11-9 and also overcame the 2nd seed in the semifinals 10-8 both in deciding tiebreakers.
The final was destined to come down to the wire for the newly paired American team. While able to overcome nerves in the second set, CoCo (2018 US Open Junior doubles title holder) was able to lead the team to a title victory 7-6, 4-6, 10-7. CoCo and Tyra could team up again in future events like the Orange Bowl. With Coco’s raw determination and Tyra’s speed and quick reflexes at the net, this doubles team is in position to win a junior grand slam title.