Wimbledon Day 8 | Katie Swan eases into round three
It would not be Wimbledon without at least one day disrupted by rain, and Day 8 was it.
For the junior events, they had barely got onto court when the first suspension came as, under an ever- threatening sky, the rain came in the form of a shower.
Most of the second round matches in the Girls’ Singles were done and dusted when play was eventually called off for the day, bar two yet to be completed on Wednesday.
Britain’s Katie Swan took out Caty McNally 6-0 6-3, avenging her first round loss to the American at Roland Garros, and lining up to challenge the second-seeded Whitney Osuigwe.
A year away from the junior circuit appears to have done the girl from Bristol a power of good as the 18-year-old breezed past McNally, missing the rain showers that blighted play later in the day.
Swan is feeling confident in herself, even if she admitted her win was not as simple as the score suggested.
“I think, especially over the grass season this year where I’ve been playing 100k and WTA tournaments in qualifying, they’ve been so strong and I’ve been getting great experiences, that it has helped me,” she said.
“I was competing well with those players so that gave me some confidence, knowing I could compete with some of the best players in the world and just try and do my best to do that in the juniors.
“I would say it was definitely tougher than the score suggests against McNally – especially the first set, I saved a lot of break points early on.
“There were tight games and I managed to come through them, then after that I managed to relax a bit and I thought I performed well.
“I played her in the first round last year at Roland Garros, and she beat me then, so I was looking for my revenge today, and I thought I did well.”
Swan, who has been taken under the wing of British Fed Cup captain Anne Keothavong and has formed a friendship with Heather Watson in the past year, is playing her last junior tournament at Wimbledon.
Her next opponent is another American, Osuigwe, who tops the junior rankings but is the second seed this week.
The French Open girls champion managed to extricate herself from an upset at the hands of Ylena In-Albon of Switzerland, 2-6 6-3 6-3.
Osuigwe, who just took over the ITF’s junior No 1 position this week, had lost to In-Albon in their previous meeting back in May, at the Grade A in Milan, so she was not looking past the 18-year-old left-hander.
“She’s definitely a clay court player,” said the 15-year-old from Florida.
“She has a good serve and when she’s on the run, she knows how to get herself out of it…she’s just a good player all around.”
Osuigwe attributed her slow start to nerves, but she was able to calm herself down after a bathroom break between the first and second sets.
“I focused myself back in on what I needed to do: more kick serves, better placed serves, moving her with angles,” Osuigwe said.
She saw her 4-1, one-break lead in the second set dwindle, but broke In-Albon for a 5-3 lead and then served out the set with some great defence on her one set point at 40-30.
In the decider, the American was up two breaks at 4-1, but she lost nine points in a row, and dropped her serve before holding for a 5-3 lead.
At 5-4, the light rain began to fall, and In-Albon had words with the chair umpire, not about the conditions but querying the score, arguing that it should be deuce, not 5-4 because Osuigwe had been down 0-40 on her serve.
Since In-Albon had not objected when the score was scored subsequently, her argument fell on deaf ears.
The French girl was unable to regroup after the discussion, and she netted a forehand at 15-40 to give Osuigwe the win, just moments before the rain arrived, heavy enough to suspend play for the remainder of the day.
On facing Swan next, Osuigwe observed: “I know she’s good.
“She obviously has more pressure than me, being 18, being from here, this being her surface. So I’m just going to go out there and play, doing what I do best.”
“I’m pretty fast movement-wise and I have a lot of variety in my game,” said Osuigwe, who considers her self an all-rounder on all surfaces..
“The ability to change the way I play–I can play offensive, I can play aggressive, I can be an all-court player, I can be a counter-puncher or an aggressive base-liner.”
As for Swan, she is looking forward to the encounter: “Hopefully it will be a good match,” she said.
“I trained with her a bit at the start of the year, at IMG [in Florida], and obviously I’ve seen her progress throughout the year and I think she’s now number one in juniors, so I know it’s going to be tough and she’s confident.”
At least one quarter-finalist from the States is assured in the girls’ draw, with Ellie Douglas and Sofia Sewing facing off against each other in the third round.
Douglas got past Thaisa Pedretti of Brazil 7-6(5) 6-4 while Sewing beat the qualifier from Finland, Oona Orpana, 6-3 6-2.
Sewing, who had played nearly three hours to earn a dramatic 6-3 6-7(8) 9-7 first round victory over Britain’s Ali Collins on Monday, admitted that she was feeling the effects of that match the following morning.
“I’m actually very sore,” said Sewing, who didn’t convert match points leading 6-3 5-2 on Monday, but did close out her match today despite going down 0-40 in the final game and needing three match points to finish it.
“I’m super sore. But I’m going to do a massage later and do another ice bath and hopefully that will relax me a little bit and I’ll be looser tomorrow.”
Only two girl seeds lost in the second round, Marta Kostyuk and Britain’s No 8 seed Emily Appleton, who went out to Sofya Lansere of Russia 6-4 6-4.
Maja Chwalinska, a qualifier from Poland, surprised Kostyuk, the Australian Open champion and fifth seed, 6-1 6-4.
The 15-year-old Pole, who looks no more than 12, gave Kostyuk no pace to work with, using slices and drop shots to keep the Ukrainian out of her rhythm.
Kostyuk saved two match points serving at 2-5 and was able to break Chwalinska when serving for the match, but the Pole broke to earn her win.
Roehampton Girls champion Liu, seeded three here this week, did not let two rain delays slow her down as she took out Mahak Jain of India, 6-2 6-1.
Liu, who didn’t lose a set in her six matches at Roehampton, has lost only six games in her first two wins at Wimbledon and now plays No 16 seed En Shuo Liang of Taiwan on Wednesday.
Top seed Kayla Day’s match with qualifier Jule Niemeier of Germany, was suspended with Day up 6-2 1-3; while Ann Li defeated British wild card Eliz Maloney 6-2 4-6 6-3, and will now play Chwalinska.
Only four boys matches were completed before play was called off for the day after the third interruption of play.
Argentina’s Axel Geller won the warm-up event for junior Wimbledon at Roehampton last week, beating DJ Thomas from the USA, 6-3 6-4, but is unseeded at Wimbledon.
On Tuesday he dispatched the same player rather more easily, 6-1 6-0, to reach the third round after just 33 minutes of play.
“Last week it was 6-3, 6-4, one break per set, he had many chances on my serve,” said the 18-year-old, who is joining Stanford this fall.
“I played really good, and he also did. It was a very good match. I knew he has the potential to beat anyone; he has those big shots, he can hit winners from anywhere, he’s very good at the net. So I started out really competitive. I think I competed really well, every point I was there and when I was winning easy I kept it going.”
Geller flew off to a good start, going up 2-0 and serving at 40-0 only to be stalled by the first rain delay.
“I didn’t want to stop, but we had to stop because of the rain…,” he said.
“I had the confidence with my serve, that at 40-0 it was probably going to go my way, but I thought it would be a different match from then. Luckily, I just kept going and he couldn’t keep it up.”
Geller, who is 6-foot tall, is already pretty famous in Buenos Aires, where a newspaper ran a feature on him and social media buzzes with his progress.
Winning Wimbledon as a professional is all he has ever dreamed about since he was six and now he is here, hitting with Juan Martin Del Potro.
“I practised with him before coming here, twice – very nice,” he said.
“I feel like it’s routine for him but for us to keep up with him it’s so demanding physically I was hitting, I remember, crosscourt forehands with him.
“His forehand is huge, he didn’t miss. I got so tired, my legs became so sore after 20 minutes, but the level was really, really high.
“I felt like I can play with him but physically he is so much more used to that level of play.
“That’s the difference between good pros and good juniors. I don’t think I could play a tournament of five-set matches yet.
“I like Delpo I think his game style is very similar to mine,” Geller added. “I try to copy him.
Also, when he was younger, he used to have a very solid backhand just like I have but not that big of a forehand, that’s what I’ve been told.
“When I was about 12 or 13 my forehand wasn’t very big but now it’s becoming bigger so I’m trying to copy him and the way he moves to hit more forehands.”
Geller will play Naoki Tajima of Japan, one of only three other boys to finish on Tuesday, but that third round match is not on Wednesday’s schedule, with eight boys second round matches still in progress and four yet to begin.
Second-seeded Yibing Wu, who retired to Vasil Kirkov last week at Roehampton, won this week’s re-match easily, taking a 6-1 6-1 victory into round three; while Spain’s Alejandro Daviddovich Fokina, the 8th seed, defeated Dan Added from France, 6-3 6-1.