Sunday, December 11, 2016

Another NorCal junior completes rare sweep

Katie Volynets became the first girl to sweep the
Eddie Herr and Orange Bowl 16s titles. Sam Riffice
achieved the feat two years ago on the boys' side.
2015 photo by Paul Bauman
   For the second time in three years, a Northern Californian swept the Eddie Herr and Orange Bowl 16s titles in consecutive weeks.
   Unseeded Katie Volynets of Walnut Creek in the San Francisco Bay Area outclassed 14th-seeded Imani Graham of Saint Johns, Fla., 6-4, 6-3 on Saturday in the Orange Bowl on clay in Plantation, Fla.
   Sam Riffice of Roseville in the Sacramento area achieved the rare feat two years ago on the boys' side. The Eddie Herr International Championships are played on hardcourts in Bradenton, Fla.
   Volynets plays on hardcourts at home. Riffice trains in Florida, so he has more experience on clay than Volynets.
   Volynets, who did not lose a set in the Orange Bowl, became the first girl to win the 16s title in both tournaments in the same year.
   "No, I didn't know that," Volynets, who won the USTA National 12s in 2014 and 14s last year, told Zoo Tennis. "Now I'm really happy, and I feel really good. I appreciate these titles very much. They mean a lot to me because I know these are internationals, while the other ones were nationals, so this to me is almost a bigger deal. I feel really good, but of course I'm going to go back to work and back on the court when I get home."
   Saturday's match was delayed almost six hours by rain.
   Graham and the diminutive Volynets, known for her mental toughness, will turn 15 on Dec. 20 and Dec. 31, respectively.
   The Orange Bowl, one of the top junior tournaments in the world, was founded by Eddie Herr in 1947. It was played on clay until 1998, then on hardcourts until 2011. It has been contested on clay again since then.
   Past winners of the Orange Bowl 18s include Chris Evert (1969-70), Bjorn Borg 1972), John McEnroe (1976), Ivan Lendl (1977), Gabriela Sabatini (1984), Mary Joe Fernandez (1985), Jim Courier (1987) and Anna Kournikova (1995).
   Winners of the tournament on hardcourts include Roger Federer (1998), Elena Dementieva (1998), Andy Roddick (1999), Vera Zvonareva (2000 and 2001), Marcos Baghdatis (2003) and Caroline Wozniacki (2005).
  

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