michelle larcher de brito is dazzling--both in looks and charms and her game. hope she can get into top 20 one day.
Larcher de Brito Steps It Up
One of the most promising young stars around came in first at one of the biggest events on the junior circuit, as Michelle Larcher de Brito captured the girls' singles title at the Orange Bowl, overcoming an early deficit in the final to stop the hot streak of American Melanie Oudin.
After a second round loss at the US Open, Oudin had won 22 matches in a row (and four titles) coming into the Orange Bowl, and looked fairly untroubled in extending that to 27 in a row to reach a fifth straight final, dropping just one set en route (to world No.1 Urszula Radwanska in the quarters). In the final, the No.8-seeded American stormed out to a 3-0 first set lead and seemed headed for victory but No.9 seed Larcher de Brito turned the match around, rallying back to win the first set and powering through the second set for a 75 63 victory and her first title in over a year.
"I hadn't won a tournament the whole year, so finally winning one was great," Larcher de Brito said afterwards. "There was one point where I went to the net and panicked a little bit, because I don't like it. It was an important point too. But I actually won the point, so it went okay.
"I had to go for everything and push myself to the limit to actually win it."
Larcher de Brito began playing tennis when she was five years old and moved to the Bollettieri Academy when she was nine. Her junior resume is building already and, in addition to the Orange Bowl title, includes the Under 16 Eddie Herr title in 2005 (at age 12; she was the youngest player ever to win it). She made a splash in her Sony Ericsson WTA Tour debut earlier this year at the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami, becoming the seventh-youngest player in history to win a Tour main draw match by beating Meghann Shaughnessy in the opening round (she was 14 years, one month and three days old); after putting up a fight in the first set, she would fall to new Indian Wells champion Daniela Hantuchova in straight sets in her second match, 75 60. She spent the rest of the season performing strongly on the ITF Women's and Junior Circuit.
The Orange Bowl is one of the most prestigious junior tournaments outside of the Grand Slams. A number of current and former world No.1s have played the event, including Belgian Justine Henin, who won it in 1996.