Blumberg, Kenin win 18s titles at International Spring Championships

April 6, 2015 06:03 AM

By Steve Pratt, special to

CARSON, Calif. – Playing in his third ITF junior final this year, top seed William Blumberg of Greenwich, Conn., used his experience to beat 15-year-old IMG Academy talent Miomir Kecmanovic of Serbia, 6-2, 6-4, Sunday to win the boys’ 18s singles title at the ITF Grade 1 USTA International Spring Championships.

Sixteen-year-old Sofia Kenin from Pembroke Pines, Fla., also got the better of another IMG Academy prospect, as she needed three sets to beat Hungary's Fanni Stollar, also 16, to capture the girls’ 18s title, 6-3, 6-7 (7), 6-0.

Kenin held a 4-2 lead in the second-set tiebreak but couldn’t clinch it on two match points. Stollar played several huge points to stay alive, including a clutch down-the-line backhand winner when she was down 5-6.

“She set the point up really well; it’s not like I just missed,” said Kenin, the No. 2 seed, who had another chance at the win up 7-6 but was unable to convert.

The fourth-seeded Stollar served tough to make it 8-7, and then Kenin served and hit a backhand wide to send the match to a third set. Kenin didn’t think Stollar could keep up the high level of play and overpowered her to win the third set easily.

“I didn’t want to lose the whole match just because I had lost two match points,” said Kenin, visibly shaken and distraught heading into the third set. “It was really upsetting.”

Kenin will now try and pull off the double Carson and ASICS Easter Bowl 18s titles, something accomplished players Melanie Oudin (2007) and CiCi Bellis (2014) have done in recent years.

“I want to try and win the Easter Bowl,” said Kenin, who spoke to her mother by phone after the win. “She won’t even watch the live scores. She just sits there and won’t do anything. She gets too nervous.”

Stollar said she will return home to Budapest, Hungary, to begin training on red clay for the junior French Open.

“It wasn’t my day, and my serve wasn’t on,” she said.

Blumberg played solidly and kept more balls in play than his opponent, despite the windy conditions.

"For the past six months, I’ve been working on being way more aggressive and cutting off the angles on the forehand,” Blumberg said. “I did a good job of doing that yesterday against Nathan (Ponwith). I can be scrappy; I can play defense.”

Said Kecmanovic: “He made me miss a lot today. The conditions were OK. It was a good experience, and I was glad I made it all the way to the final.”

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