NEW

Cornet apologises as Dojokovic is told ‘No’

France’s Alizé Cornet has apologised for the comments she made on social media about the ‘insane’ Australian Open quarantine arrangements, calling them tactless, while requests to ease restrictions by Novak Djokovic have been knocked back.

Players complaining in hard lockdown

Normally cosseted tennis players are complaining Down Under because of the quarantine conditions they are enduring in Melbourne ahead of the Australian swing.

Barty gets a head start

Ash Barty, the WTA World No 1, relocated to Melbourne when Brisbane announced a sudden three-day lockdown after a confirmed COVID-19 case on 8 January and took advantage to practise at Rod Laver Arena before it was locked down.

TA under fire…

Tennis Australia is under fire for apparently allowing provisionally suspended Dayana Yastremska to board a charter flight to Melbourne for the Australian swing.

AO Casualty: Madison Keys tests positive

As concerns grow over Andy Murray’s participation at the Australian Open after he tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this week, Madison Keys announced on Thursday that she too has the virus and will not be playing in Melbourne.

No preferential treatment for Murray

On the day that players start arriving down under to undergo a fortnight’s quarantine before competing in the Australian Open, Andy Murray learns that his chances of joining them in Melbourne are slim following comments from the Victorian state health minister Martin...

Murray may miss Aussie Open!

Reports are emerging that Andy Murray has tested positive for Covid-19 and is currently isolating in his home in Surrey.

16 women qualify for AO in Melbourne

With the final round of qualifying completed on Wednesday in Dubai, the 16 women who have won through to places in the main draw in Melbourne have been determined, with Britain’s Francesca Jones in the mix alongside the likes of veteran Tsvetana Pironkova and teenager...

Hurkatcz downs Korda for Delray Beach title

Hubert Hurkatcz dashed Sebastian Korda’s hopes of winning his first ATP Title when he won after 68-minutes, the Delray Beach Open 6-3 6-3 on Wednesday.

Superb Sabalenka storms to Abu Dhabi title

Aryna Sabalenka added a 9th singles trophy to her growing collection when she lifted the Abu Dhabi WTA Women’s Open trophy on Wednesday after dispatching Russia’s Veronika Kudermetova, 6-2 6-2, in the final.
Tennis News, Tennis Results, Live Tennis Scores & Interviews

Melbourne | Andorra’s Jimenez Kasintseva, 14, claims AO Girls’ singles title

Victoria Jimenez Kasintseva is a name which we should probably remember as she is the latest Junior Girls champion at the Australian Open in Melbourne, where she defeated Weronika Baszak from Poland, 5-7 6-2 6-2, after a 2 hours 4 minutes battle in the final on Saturday.

 

I never thought I would be here. I actually didn't think that I would win. I fought a lot for it. I was about to lose in some matches, and I just kept fighting. I guess that's how I won. Victoria Jimenez Kasintseva

What is remarkable is that Jimenez Kasintseva is only 14 years-old, the youngest player in the draw, and comes from the tiny state of Andorra.

“I never thought I would be here,” the No 9 seed admitted, beaming, as she was awarded the trophy inside the Rod Laver Arena after her hard-earned win.

Jimenez Kasintseva had saved 3 match points in her 3rd round, 3-6 7-6(7) 7-6(7), 3-hour, win over Italy’s Melania Delai, and recovered from a slow start in her quarter-finals to upset American second seed Robin Montgomery, 1-6 7-5 6-2.

“I actually didn’t think that I would win,” she said. “I fought a lot for it. I was about to lose in some matches, and I just kept fighting. I guess that’s how I won.”

Baszak, who has a beautiful one-handed backhand, also used her big serve and forehand to take a 5-3 lead in the first set, and held off a late-set charge to win it, 7-5.

She was unable to convert 2 break points in the first game of set 2, however, a hiccup she said helped change the momentum of the final.

“I think in the beginning of the second set she started to play more aggressive and much better,” said Baszak, who at 17 is 3 years older than her opponent.

“I did some mistakes in the beginning in the first game and second game, so it was my fault actually. I should do in the first game of the second set.”

Nevertheless, it was a successful week, overall, for Baszak, who is No 44 in the junior rankings.

“I’m very happy with my final, it’s quite a good success,” she said on court after the match.

“Victoria was better than me today, I was fighting to the end. It was my first time in Australia, I like it very much. I hope I will be back in the seniors.”

Jimenez Kasintseva hit 15 of her 21 winners in the match in the latter 2 sets, growing in confidence as she shook off nerves from playing on the biggest stage of her young life.

She admits she has split nationalities because she trains in Spain, since her home country is mountainous and only has one indoor court, but her allegiance remain firmly with Andorra.

The 14-year-old picked up her first racket at the age of 3 and began playing on court with her father, who has a small tennis academy in Barcelona, at the age of 6.

Andorra is a small independent European principality situated among the southern peaks of the Pyrenees Mountains and bounded by France to the north and east and by Spain to the south and west.

“I only represent Andorra. Yeah, I live in between them two,” she said.

In 2018, she won the Future Aces event held in conjunction with Roland Garros in Paris, and gained an ITF junior ranking for the first time in 2019, making her way to 6 titles from April to November.

“I try to go step by step,” said the Andorran about her progression. “Now there’s 3 more Grand Slams to go.

“I will see. I just go little by little. I don’t want to rush. Tournament by tournament.”

Her father and coach, Joan Jimenez Guerra, was a touring pro in the 1990s and reached a career-high ranking of No 505 on the ATP Tour.

The family lived in Kentucky in the USA for 4 years, where Joan coached at a club, and when Victoria was aged 4 to 8.

For the last 2 years they have split their time between their home in Andorra and Sitges, which is just just outside Barcelona, where Jimenez Kasintseva does the majority of her training.

She is determined to remain true to her Andorran roots, and her father said the nation of less than 77,000 people have flooded them with congratulatory messages.

“It’s like a village, we know everyone,” he said.

“I represent Andorra,” Victoria said with a smile in front of more than a dozen journalists who attended her championship press conference.

Part of her popularity? She speaks five languages – and well: English, Spanish, Catalan, Russian and French.

Four of her 6 match wins in Melbourne this week came in 3 sets, including her aforementioned 3rd round and quarter-final wins.

“I have a very strong personality, in a good and in a bad way,” she said, laughing. “Yeah, I guess I have this power inside. I guess that’s how I do those shots.”

Where does that come from?

“It’s my parents that gave me that fighting spirit. It’s them,” she said. “I’m competitive in and out of the court.

“I was born with it. But also, losing is learning and if you want to be a tennis player, you have to learn to lose. It’s part of the game.”

In the meantime she will return to her school studies while juggling her promising tennis career.

“Well, I’m going to do pre-season now, like one month of studying, a lot of physical preparation,” she said. “Obviously I’m going to try to improve my shots.

“Then I’m going to play my first tournament, it’s a 15K [$15,000 tournament] in March, I think in France.”

Her opponent, 17-year-old Baszak, has a few more chances to capture a Junior Grand Slam title in 2020.

“I’m counting [on] Wimbledon this year, I love playing on the grass,” she said, adding that she intends to join the WTA Tour after the US Open.

Meanwhile, Jimenez Kasintseva, who greatly admires fellow left-handers Rafael Nadal and Petra Kvitova, can enjoy becoming the youngest junior Grand Slam champion since Coco Gauff at Roland Garros in 2018, and joining the ranks of previous Australian Open Girls’ Singles champions, including dual Women’s champion Victoria Azarenka, World No 2 Karolina Pliskova and 3-time Open quarter-finalist Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.






Previous

Next

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.