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Ashlyn Krueger and Arthur Fils win Orange Bowl 18 titles

A pair of surprise winners have come away with the coveted Orange Bowl trophies in the 18s division. American Ashlyn Krueger (born May 7, 2004) and France’s Arthur Fils (born June 12, 2004), who were both unseeded at the event.

Ashlyn Krueger, 2020 Orange Bowl champion December 03, 2020 – Ashlyn Krueger – USA in action during the Orange Bowl at the Veltri Tennis Center in Plantation, Florida.

American Ashlyn Krueger and France’s Arthur Fils, both unseeded, clinched their titles on the green clay in Plantation, Florida on Sunday.

Krueger, a 6’1″ wild card who won the 16s title in 2019, became the first player to win the 16s and 18s in successive seasons since Bianca Andreescu in 2014 and 2015

Other past winners of the prestigious Orange Bowl title are: Chris Evert (1969-70), Gabriela Sabatini (1984), Elena Dementieva (1999), Caroline Wozniacki (2005), Sofia Kenin (2014) and Coco Gauff (2018).

Krueger defeated seventh-seeded Jana Kolodynska of Belarus 6-4 6-4. 

Krueger, who dropped just one set during the tournament, led by 5-1 in the second set and had to work hard to stave off a late rally by Kolodynska. 

“I was definitely nervous,” she said. “I had a lot going on in my head, but I just had to refocus and I did that at 5-4.” 

Krueger needed five match points to finish the match off in the final game. 

“I tried to serve big and then just work on my first ball,” she said. “But she played good points on those match points. She didn’t quit, she played really well, she’s a tough player, she gave me a ton of stuff I don’t like, slice and stuff, she mixed it up a ton, so I just really had to stay focused and play my game, not let that get into my head.” 

Arthur Fils, 2020 Orange Bowl champion
Photo Credit / Joe Guzy / USTA

Fils completes dream run by defeating top seed 

France’s Arthur Fils stunned the field and became the first Frenchman to claim the 18s title at the Orange Bowl since Hugo Gaston in 2017. The Essone, France native defeated top-seeded Peter Fajta of Hungary 6-1, 4-6, 6-2. 

Fils says he has taken a lot of confidence from his recent appearance in the Roland-Garros Boys Singles draw, where he won two rounds. 

Fils saved a match point in the first round and took it as an omen.

“I was very excited to do the tournament because I knew I was playing good, but first match I saved match points (against American Michael Zheng), so I said ‘okay, first match match points, now you have to go in the final, and in the final I won.’

“At Roland-Garros I took a lot of confidence. I knew I was playing good, but I didn’t have any results [yet].” 

Fils had a 6-1, 3-0 lead in Sunday’s final but momentarily lost the plot before rebounding to win in three sets. 

“He was tired. I was winning 6-1, 3-0 and then I did some bullshit,” he said before his chaperon corrected him while the reporters on the call chuckled. 

“I made some mistakes,” he concluded. “The third set I was focused and it was good.” 

Other past winners of the Boys 18s winners at the Orange Bowl are: John McEnroe (1976), Jim Courier (1987), Roger Federer (1998), Andy Roddick (1999) and Dominic Thiem (2011).

American Jonah Braswell claimed the 16s title, defeating Ignacio Buse of Peru in the final, 6-0, 6-1, while American Valeria Ray took the Girls 16s title, defeating American Tatum Evans 6-4, 3-6, 6-1.

Photo Credits: Joe Guzy / USTA


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