Buenos Aires | Top YOG boy seeds flounder
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The Youth Olympic tennis event in Buenos Aires saw the two top seeds in the boys singles both lose in the quarter-finals on Wednesday.
The fact that we have David Nalbandian and Gaby Sabatini as Athlete Role Models is a big motivation for me. It’s incredible that such successful players are here Facundo Diaz Acosta
Argentine Facundo Diaz Acosta, the No 8 seed, dispatched top seed Chun Hsin Tseng of Taiwan in front of a delighted home crowd at the Buenos Aires Lawn Tennis Club but compatriot Sebastian Baez, the 2nd seed, disappointingly fell in straight sets.
The 17-year-old local boy pulled off his stunning victory against the World No 1, 6-2 6-4, to book his place in the last four.
“I played a very good match,” said Diaz Acosta. “I was very solid from the first moment until the last. I had a strategy and I followed it to the letter.
“The fact that we have David Nalbandian and Gaby Sabatini as Athlete Role Models is a big motivation for me. It’s incredible that such successful players are here.”
Diaz Acosta will face Adrian Andreev in the semi-finals after the Bulgarian defeated Romania’s Filip Cristian Jianu 6-2 6-4.
Andreev, who defeated Diaz Acosta in their one and only encounter on the Juniors circuit in the semi-finals at the Trofeo Bonfiglio in May, was full of praise for his opponent.
“I played with him this year,” he explained. “I played really well, I beat him in a really tough match 7-6 6-4. He had set point in the first set on my second serve – it was a really tough match. He’s a really good player, really tricky, he’s fast, has everything, lefty, big serve so it will be pretty intense.”
Andreev went on to the win the title in Italy, the best result of his career, and he has no problem with being the bad guy should he be the one to end Argentina’s hopes of a gold medal in the boys’ singles.
“I’ve had this in the past against a French crowd,” said Andreev. “I was a little bit tight at the beginning because they were putting a lot of pressure and everything but I managed to deal with that and at the end it motivates me to win.”
No 7 seed Gilbert Soares Klier Junior from Brazil took out Baez, the home hope, 6-4 6-4, to keep his Olympic hopes alive.
“My dream is to get a gold medal,” he said. “I think it’s the dream of everyone here. I want that gold medal.”
He will have to get past Hugo Gaston, the 3rd seed from France, who defeated Poland’s Daniel Michalski 6-4 6-1, if he is to fight for the ultimate Youth Olympic prize.
“I’m very happy with the win,” Gaston said.“I want the gold medal for sure but first of all I have a big match tomorrow.”
The girls lost their top two singles seeds in the first round, but the No 3 and No 4 seeds advanced to Thursday’s quarter-finals.
In the top half, unseeded Yuki Naito of Japan will play No 6 seed Maria Osorio Serrano of Colombia and No 3 seed and Wimbledon girls champion Iga Swiatek of Poland will face Australian and US Open finalist Clara Burel of France, the No 7 seed.
In the bottom half, No 4 seed Kaja Juvan of Slovenia will play unseeded Oksana Selekhmeteva of Russia and No 5 seed Xinyu Wang of China will meet unseeded Daniela Vismane of Latvia.
The girls doubles final is set with the fourth-seeded team of Naito and Naho Sato of Japan facing No 2 seeds from Poland Juvan and Swiatek for the gold medal.
The boys doubles semi-finals will feature top seeds Diaz Acosta and Baez against the unseeded Czech team of Ondrej Styler and Dalibor Svrcina in the top half and No 3 seeds Gaston and Clement Tabur of France against unseeded Andreev and Rinky Hijikata of Australia.
The boys’ singles semi-finals will take place on Thursday at the Buenos Aires Lawn Tennis Club, starting at 10:00 local time (13:00 GMT).