Melbourne | McHugh reaches third round of AO Juniors
Aidan McHugh kept the British flag flying in the Australian Open juniors on Tuesday with an impressive win over Jaimee Floyd Angele from France, 6-2 3-6 7-6(5), in one minute over two hours.
The 17-year old form Glasgow is being mentored by Andy Murray after joining the British No 1’s sports management company in November, and says it feels ‘very cool’.
McHugh looked to be in full control in the first set, winning 72 percent of points with his first serve, but the considerably taller Angele upped his game in the second, striking 13 winners to the Scot’s 6 to level proceedings.
The decider proved to be a much tighter affair, running to a tiebreak that McHugh narrowly won, 7-5.
McHugh next plays Ondrej Styler, the 14th seed from the Czech Republic, in round three for a place in the quarter-finals.
Also on Tuesday, McHugh, teaming up with Russia’s Timofey Skatov, took out Angele and his partner Damien Wenger from Switzerland, 6-4 7-6(5), to reach the quarter-finals of the boys doubles here.
Top seed Timofey Skatov from Russia was clinical in his 6-1 6-2 victory over 16-year-old Australian wild card Stefan Storch, and next takes on Turkey’s Yanki Erel, an equally easy winner over Czech Dalibor Svrcina, 6-2 6-0.
Another Russian, 17-year-old Alexey Zakharov, was all smiles after winning his second-round singles and doubles matches.
In the singles, the 12th-seed ousted Nick Hardt of the Dominican Republic, 6-3 6-4.
Zakharov played confident tennis, posting 33 winners to just 10 for for Hardt, and winning 27 of his 33 net forrays, six of them serve-volleying.
Last year, he played all the junior Grand Slam tournaments for the first time, with his best showing here at the Australian Open, reaching the quarter-finals in both singles and doubles.
“I have to defend my points and I feel the pressure, but these courts I like to play on,” he said.
Zakharov started playing tennis at age six, because his two older sisters played, and nowadays spends less time in Moscow in order to improve his game.
This season he is training at the Mouratoglou Tennis Academy on a more full-time basis after finishing his high school education and is now pursuing a university degree in Moscow for physical education, taking his homework on the road.
His father, a retired businessman, is a constant companion on the road, while mother mostly stays at home.
“My dad is always traveling with me so I see him every day,” he said. “No, no, he’s not a second coach.
“He just loves to travel. Mom she can’t fly because she’s afraid on the plane, so she’s never really going to tournaments with me. But if it’s Roland Garros or Wimbledon, she can take a train from Moscow – Moscow to Paris, and Paris to London.”
Zakharov takes on France’s Hugo Gaston next, a straight sets winner over Jaycer Lyeons from the United States, 6-3 7-6(4).
Sebastian Korda, another American seeded 7th, came through comfortably against Adrian Andreev from Bulgaria, 6-2 6-1, and will meet the South African qualifier, Phillip Henning, who beat Brazil’s Thiago Seyboth Wild, 7-5 6-4 6-4.
The top two seeds in the girls’ singles progressed to the third round with contrasting results on Tuesday.
Chinese top seed Xinyu Wang was pushed to the limit by American Peyton Stearns but overcame the challenge with a 6-3 5-7 6-4 victory, while No 2 seed En Liang was largely untroubled in her 6-2 6-1 win over Anri Nagata.
American No 12 seed Elysia Bolton, who defeated Japan’s Himari Sato, 6-4 6-1, in just under an hour, advanced to her second consecutive Grand Slam third round.
After a quarter-final showing at the US Open, in which she defeated the highly talented Marta Kostyuk, the 17-year-old has set her sights on a much bigger result here.
“It [US Open performance] gave me a lot of confidence and I set a goal for myself at the start of the year to win the Aussie Open,” Bolton said. “It gave me a lot of confidence that I could do it now.
“It was so fun watching her [Kostyuk] do so well because it was like, ‘I can do that’.”
Despite playing under the United States banner, there is an Australian flavour to Bolton, who was born in Sydney and lived in the country until just prior to her second birthday.
Bolton hopes to gain a higher pro ranking in 2018 before she heads to the University of Los Angeles California [UCLA] later in the year.
“I want to go to college with a ranking of around 400. That would be the minimum,” she said.
The American will next play Clara Burel after the Frenchwoman upset No 6 seed Joanna Garland, 6-3 6-1.
On the local front, 16-year-old Australian Amber Marshall claimed a 6-2 6-4 win over Russian Alina Charaeva in 52 minutes to book her spot in the third round of a major in her first ever main draw.