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Richmond Wins 14s Junior Orange Bowl Title

January 13, 2009 02:30 PM

In the Orange Bowl boys 14s, two accomplished No. 9 seeds faced off in the final, and it was John Harrison Richmond of Pawleys Island, South Carolina who claimed the championship by a 6-4, 6-1 score over Canada's Edward Nguyen.

Richmond, who had squeezed past rival Alexios Halebian of California in the third round, avenging his defeat in the semifinal at the Eddie Herr, fell behind 3-1 in the opening set of the championship match, then went on to capture 11 of the next 13 games.

"I came out a little nervous, making some errors, but I knew I just needed to settle into the match a little more," said Richmond, the 2008 USTA National 14s champion. "Once I did, I was able to get a rhythm and make my shots, not do too much, and do what I needed to do to win."

If Richmond found his rhythm, Nguyen, the reigning champion at the prestigious 14-and-under Les Petits As tournament in Tarbes, France, never did, looking entirely unlike the player who had dominated his opponents in quarterfinal and semifinal matches.

"I wasn't on my game today," Nguyen said. "I just couldn't make the shots I made all week. I was just a bit nervous at the beginning, but after I got into it, I still couldn't get my rhythm."

Richmond joins Clancy Shields (2001) and Rhyne Williams (2005) as U.S. Junior Orange Bowl 14s champions this decade, and he ranks the accomplishment near the top of his tennis achievements.

"It's a great win, probably my best tournament ever," Richmond said. "It's a great feeling, and I'm definitely glad I could pull it off."


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