Miami Marlins

This Bradenton teen adds Orange Bowl title to French Open success

From Miami Herald Wire Services

Whitney Osuigwe of Bradenton defeated Margaryta Bilokin of Ukraine 6-1, 6-2 to win the Orange Bowl Girls’ 18s singles crown on Sunday.
Whitney Osuigwe of Bradenton defeated Margaryta Bilokin of Ukraine 6-1, 6-2 to win the Orange Bowl Girls’ 18s singles crown on Sunday.

If this was the last junior tennis match Whitney Osuigwe ever plays, consider it microcosm of the 15-year-old’s breakout junior career.

Osuigwe of Bradenton cruised by Ukrainian Margaryta Bilokin, 6-1, 6-2, to win the Orange Bowl Girls’ 18s singles title on Sunday at the Frank Veltri Tennis Center in Plantation.

The 2017 French Open girls’ champ ends 2017 as the world’s No. 1-ranked junior — the third American girl to hold that distinction in the last six years, following CiCi Bellis in 2014 and Taylor Townsend in 2012 — and likely has enough junior ranking points cached to be able enter the junior Grand Slams in 2018 without playing another junior event until then, should she choose.

“I’m just going to transition further into the pro level,” Osuigwe said. “I still have limitations on tournaments, on what I can do next year, so I’m just going to have a couple of training blocks, maybe play some 25Ks. I know I’m going to play the Miami Open.”

She doesn’t turn 16 until April and is therefore limited by the WTA’s age eligibility rules in regards to the number of professional matches she can play. Her plan for the immediate future is to take some time off, then begin her preseason training back at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, where she trains primarily with her father, Desmond.

“I’m really happy,” Osuigwe said. “I’ve always done pretty well here, getting to the semis last year and winning the time I played before that (Girls’ 12s, in 2014), so I was really excited to win this tournament and finish off my – maybe this is my last junior match, I don’t know – but to finish off my junior career like this, it’s amazing.”

Frenchman Hugo Gaston won the Boys’ 18s final, over Kazakhstan’s Dostanbek Tashbulatov, 6-2, 6-3.

The Czech team of Ondrej Styler and Tomas Machac won the Boys’ 18s title over Colombian Nicholas Mejia and Uisung Park, of Korea, 6-4, 6-4.

Taipei’s Joanna Garland and Japan’s Naho Sato beat France’s Yasmine Mansouri and Japan’s Yuki Naito, 6-4, 6-3, for the Girls’ 18s doubles title.

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