IMG Academy student-athlete Diego Pedraza had quite the homecoming in his native Colombia over the weekend, adding a huge win to his résumé by winning the ITF Grade 1 Copa Baranquilla, held in Baranquilla, Colombia, January 14-20. Playing on clay courts, the 17-year old Pedraza fought for every point in every set, and walked away with the prestigious title. The win vaulted Pedraza to a career high ranking of No. 38 ITF (as of 1/21/13).
Pedraza really began to assert himself in the competition with a victory in the third round over Venezuela’s Rafael Coutinho. Countinho, ranked No. 114 ITF, would not go down without a fight, dominating the first set 6-1. Pedrza answered back, winning the next set, and knocking off Countinho in a tiebreaker, 1-6, 6-3, 7-6(2).
The field did not get any easier in the quarterfinals when Pedrza faced Brazil’s Orlando Luz. Though Pedraza is three years older than Luz, the young Brazilian went 45-5 overall in singles play in 2012, recording a stunning 31-0 record in Boys 14s competition. Undaunted, Pedraza went to work and handed Luz his first loss of the year, 3-6, 6-4, 6-2.
The semifinals matched Pedraza against another top Brazilian, Rafael Matos, ranked No. 59 ITF. However, Pedraza cruised to a straight sets win over Matos on his way to the finals, 6-2, 7-5.
In the finals, facing yet another top Brazilian player, Marcelo Zormann da Silva, ranked No. 71 ITF, Pedraza had to overcome another deficit after dropping the first set. Cool and collected, Pedraza overcame the loss in the first set, and took the next two sets over da Silva to claim the title, 3-6, 6-4, 6-3.
The win gives Pedraza three career junior singles titles. His last two titles came at the Copa “Club Farallones” held in Cali, Columbia, August 2012; and the Merida Junior Open, held in Merida Venezuela, August 2011. Pedraza is a full-time student-athlete at IMG Academy and works with coach Jose Lambert's team.