Tsitsipas, Andreescu reach finals for second straight year

December 12, 2015 05:05 PM

By Pat Mitsch, special to USTA.com
– For a couple of players who have been there before, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Bianca Andreescu sure didn’t act like it.
Tsitsipas (pictured above) and Andreescu both reached their second consecutive Metropolia Orange Bowl singles finals on Saturday, much to the surprise of … well, themselves.
Tsitsipas, the third-seeded Greek, beat No. 2 Mate Valkusz, of Hungary, 6-3, 6-1, at the Frank Veltri Tennis Center to reach the boys’ 18s title match for the second year in a row. Andreescu, the ninth-seeded Canadian and 2014 Orange Bowl girls’ 16s singles champion, upended second-seeded Hungarian Dalma Galfi, 2-6, 6-4, 6-2, to reach Sunday’s girls’ 18s final.
Last year, the 6-foot-4 Tsitsipas fell to the American favorite, Stefan Kozlov, and didn’t exactly envision making that same run to the final a year later.
“I would never expect that I could do it twice,” Tsitsipas said. “Now I’m going for it. Last year, I had many opportunities in the final to win this tournament, but I didn’t use them. This year I’m looking forward to winning this title.”

In his way is Miomir Kecmanovic, the ninth-seeded Serb who trains out of the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. He beat unseeded Romanian Calin Manda, 6-4, 6-2, in the other boys’ 18s semifinal, setting up a rematch of last week’s Eddie Herr quarterfinal, which Tsitsipas won in straight sets.
“I lost that match, but we’ll see if it’s going to be different now. I know how to play him now,” Kecmanovic said. “I’ve been playing good this whole week, and I’m happy to be in the finals.”
So is Andreescu, whose relentless, fighting style frustrated Galfi in the second and third sets on Saturday. A day after Galfi had clinched the ITF’s year-end No. 1 world junior ranking with her victory in the quarterfinals – leaping from the No. 3 spot in the world junior rankings to unseat current No. 1 Marketa Vondrousova – the 2015 US Open junior champion bowed out to Andreescu, who reacted with surprise after match point.
“It was like, ‘Did this just happen?’ That’s basically what it was. She’s like No. (3) in the world. I just went on court to go enjoy it. I think I just keep fighting until the end, and that really helped,” said Andreescu, who is coached by former world No. 3 Nathalie Tauziat. “No words. It’s just amazing to come back since I won last year, under-16s. It’s a great atmosphere.”
The end of the other girls’ 18s semifinal came sooner than anticipated. Sixth-seeded American Kayla Day ultimately advanced over No. 13 Anastasia Potapova of Russia, who retired with a right hand injury after Day won the second set to push it to three. The score line ultimately read, 5-7, 6-3, ret., in favor of the 16-year-old from Santa Barbara, Calif.
“Not the way I expected to win,” Day said. “I’m definitely happy to get through to the finals because it’s been a really tough week. I’ve played well, but it’s kind of sad that it ended that way.”
The boys’ and girls’ 16s finals were also set on Saturday. No. 3 Karl Friberg of Sweden will meet No. 9 Sebastian Baez of Argentina in the boys’ final, while No. 2 Maria Lourdes Carl of Argentina will meet Gabriela Nicole Tatarus of Romania in the girls’ final.
The boys' and girls' 18s and 16s doubles finals will all be played on Sunday, as well. Check OrangeBowlTennis.org for the latest draws and order of play.