Townsend, Chirico and Andrews Lead US to Junior Fed Cup Title

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., October 1, 2012 – The USTA announced today that the U.S. Junior Fed Cup team of Taylor Townsend (Stockbridge, Ga.), Louisa Chirico (Harrison, N.Y.) and Gabrielle Andrews (Pomona, Calif.) captured the championship at the Junior Fed Cup by BNP Paribas World Final on Sunday in Barcelona, Spain, defeating Russia, 3-0, in the final. This is the second title for the U.S. in the 16-and-under version of Fed Cup, both coming in the last five years.


The U.S. Junior Davis Cup team of Noah Rubin (Rockville Centre, N.Y.), Stefan Kozlov (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) and Jared Donaldson (Cumberland, R.I.) took third place in the Junior Davis Cup by BNP Paribas World Final, defeating France, 2-0, in the third-place match-up (doubles not played).


Of the 11 nations with teams competing in both Junior Davis Cup and Junior Fed Cup, only the United States finished in the top three of each event. Overall, 21 nations were represented across the two events.


“We’re extremely proud of our juniors and what they accomplished this past week against the world’s toughest competition and the job that Kathy and Nicolas did as coaches,” said General Manager, USTA Player Development Patrick McEnroe. “It was a tremendous week, especially for the girls, and the results are certainly encouraging for the future of both these players and American tennis.”


The top-seeded U.S. Junior Fed Cup Team, captained by USTA National Coach Kathy Rinaldi, went 14-0 in singles and doubles matches throughout the 16-nation World Final. Townsend, 16, ranked No. 1 among all players 18 and younger in the ITF World Junior rankings, went 5-0 in singles, and partnered with Andrews, 15, to win all four of their doubles matches. Chirico, 16, who trains at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y., did not lose a set in going 5-0 in singles play.


The U.S. Junior Fed Cup team defeated Spain, Korea and Egypt in group play, all by a 3-0 score, and dropped Brazil, the third-place finisher, 2-0, in the semifinal (doubles not played). The 14-0 match record for the U.S. replicates the performance by the 2008 U.S Junior Fed Cup championship team, which included Sloane Stephens and Christina McHale.


The U.S. Junior Davis Cup team, captained by USTA National Coach Nicolas Todero, achieved its best finish since winning its second Junior Davis Cup title in 2008. The U.S., the No. 1 seed in the 16-nation field, defeated Brazil, Japan and Russia in group play before falling to Australia, the runner-up to champion Italy, in the semifinal.


Rubin, 16, and Kozlov, 14, each went 4-1 in singles play, their only losses coming against Australia. Donaldson, 15, paired with Kozlov, the youngest player in the entire Junior Davis Cup field, to go 2-0 in doubles matches, while he and Rubin fell to Brazil in their only doubles match together.


The U.S. qualified for the Junior Davis Cup and Junior Fed Cup World Finals by going undefeated in the North/Central America and Caribbean Regional Championships in April.


Former U.S. junior international team members include James Blake, Jennifer Capriati, Michael Chang, Jim Courier, Lindsay Davenport, Mardy Fish, Lisa Raymond, Andy Roddick, Sloane Stephens and Christina McHale.




Double Delight for Townsend: Wins Australian Open Girls’ Doubles Crown with Andrews and Advances to Girls’ Singles Final

MELBOURNE PARK, Australia – A pair of 15-year-olds from the United States, Taylor Townsend of Stockbridge, Ga., and Gabrielle Andrews of Pomona, Calif., captured the Australian Open junior girls’ doubles title on Friday by defeating Irina Khromacheva of Russia and Danka Kovinic of Montenegro, 5-7, 7-5, 10-6.

Townsend and Andrews have known each other since they were 8-year-olds in tennis camp and have been friends  since. “They used to bring us out into the Home Depot Center and they have the eight high-performance camps and so they brought people from all over,” Townsend said.  “We just decided to play doubles. Easter Bowl was the first time when we were 14.”

Earlier in the day Townsend advanced to the junior girls’ final with a 7-6 (3), 6-4 win over Krista Hardebeck  of Santa Ana, Calif., in a 90-minute slugfest.

“She played really well, I came out playing really well,” Townsend said. “I went up, 2-0, and then she came back and got up, 3-2, and then from there it was really tight and no one could really break serve. A lot of return errors really killed me because she was holding serve and holding serves at love, because I was missing my second serve returns.

“I stayed in the points and I was just fighting at the end. She gave me some free shots, I hit some good shots, good severs, when I needed them. I made sure to keep coming into the net. I couldn’t stop doing that. And in the second set I think I did that more than in the first.”

Hardebeck, 17, defeated  Townsend last week in the Loy Yang Traralgon International quarterfinals, 6-4, 6-2, and went on to win the tournament.

“I was really excited about it,”  Hardebeck said of that win. “I actually played Taylor last week and I beat her there. It was a great match and a great week there. This week was pretty good as well, so I’m happy.”

Townsend said: “The biggest thing for me was that I competed today. Last week, I feel like I kind of less settled because it was a warm-up tournament quarterfinals like. It was very very tough conditions. It was windy outside.”

“But today I definitely came out really hard and that was the biggest thing keeping myself pumped.”

Townsend led off the match with a break of serve and Hardebeck returned the favor in the fourth game. Both held serve until the tiebreak, which Townsend won, 7-3, by playing aggressive tennis. She ended the tiebreak with an ace.

The second set saw Hardebeck  take a 4-2 lead and in the sixth game of the match she saved four break points.  It looked as though Hardebeck was going to send the match to a third set.  But Townsend picked up her game by mixing up baseline and net play and won the next four games in a row to win the match, 7-6, 6-4.

Towsend served seven aces in the match in contrast to Hardebeck’s  seven double faults.

“My serve was a little bit shaky today,” Hardebeck said. “It wasn’t in its best form but Taylor played really well, so there really wasn’t much I can do anyway.”

Townsend will face the Russian Yulia Putintseva for the junior girls’ title Saturday.

“She’s a very tough opponent, very competitive,” Townsend said. “She tries to get in your head with ‘c’mon’s’ to pump herself up. She kind of plays better when she’s down. I’m going to have to keep the pressure on her and keep playing my game and being aggressive and, hopefully, I’ll come out on top.”

Karen Pestaina is the founder and editor of Tennis Panorama News.

This article originally appeared in the Straight Sets Tennis Blog of the New York Times.