16-year-old Whitney Osuigwe wins first pro title at $80,000 Tyler event


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16-year-old Whitney Osuigwe wins first pro title at $80,000 Tyler event

Bradenton, Florida native Whitney Osuigwe has been one of the most promising youngsters in the last couple of years, winning the title at only the second ITF junior title she had entered and reaching the semi-final of the Orange Bowl at the age of 14.

In June 2015, Whitney won the Roland Garros and she was the player to beat in the closing weeks of the season, conquering Eddie Herr and Orange Bowl to finish the season as the year-end number 1 junior at the age of 15. In the meanwhile, this super talented and hard working girl was ready for some more serious challenges, reaching the quarter-final on her pro debut back in 2016 and the first final in Wesley Chapel this January, forging her way through the rankings to become the second-best player born in 2002 on the WTA rankings list after Marta Kostyuk.

Whitney has entered this week's $80,000 Tyler event and she went all the way, passing five obstacles to secure the first professional title at the age of 16 and enter the Top 300 as the second player from her generation after already mentioned Kostyuk. The youngster had to work hard in the first four matches, coming from a set down twice and showing both the skills and determination in order to reach the title match where she ousted Beatriz Haddad Maia 6-3 6-4 for her biggest success on the Tour so far! Osuigwe opened her campaign against Sophie Chang and she prevailed 6-2 5-7 6-3 in two hours, in the match that offered 32 break points.

Whitney got broken seven times but she erased that deficit with nine breaks on the other side, opening a 4-1 leadin the decider before moving forward with another break in game eight. The second round proved to be even tought for the Floridian, ousting Kurumi Nara 6-7 6-3 6-2 in two hours and 37 minutes for the place in the quarters.

Again, Whitney had to work hard in her games but despite losing serve six times she found the way to excel her game in sets two and three to control the scoreboard all the time and progress into the next round. There, a fellow 16-year-old Caty McNally pushed her to the limits as well but Osuigwe managed to score a 5-7 7-6 6-3 triumph in two hours and 14 minutes for her third professional semi-final.

McNally grabbed four breaks but Osuigwe clinched five to cross the finish line first and stay on the title course. Whitney led 5-4 in the opener before dropping three straight games and the set, and she was on a verge of defeat at 4-4 in set number two when she saved four break points to stay in contention.

McNally wasted two more break points in game 11 and she lost the breaker 7-3, sending the momentum to the side of Whitney who was mighty relieved to reach the third set at the first place. She was the favorite now and she opened a 5-2 lead in the decider with breaks in games three and seven before sealing the deal with her third break in game nine to enter the last four.

World number 39 and the top seed awaited in the semis and Whitney overpowered a world number 7 6-4 2-6 7-6 in two hours and 17 minutes in a very solid match. Belinda had 12 break chances but she converted just four which wasn't enough to cross the finish line before Osuigwe, wasting a 5-3 lead in the decider and allowing Whitney to secure the win in the tie break after winning the last four points for the place in the final.

After nine hours spent on the court in the first four matches, Whitney had an easier job against Beatriz Haddad Maia, notching a 6-3 6-4 win in under an hour and 30 minutes for her first professional title and huge 115 points on her tally.

The Brazilian created three break points and she grabbed them all but her serve let her down big time, having to play against 12 break points and suffering five breaks to hand the win to Osuigwe. Five of nine games in the opener ended on the side of the returner and Whitney scored three breaks for a 6-3 after numerous deuces in that last game.

Haddad Maia had a game point for a 5-4 in set number two but the youngster found the way to break her and seal the deal with a nice hold in the following game to celebrate the first success on the Pro Tour. Whitney Osuigwe's road towards the title:

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