Andorra’s No 9 seed Victoria Jimenez Kasintseva has found her way into the Australian Open Girls singles final at her first attempt, where she will take on Weronika Baszak, from Poland.
Coco Gauff, there is only one. She is an amazing player, she has an amazing game and an amazing mindset too. She has a lot of pressure to deal with and is able to withstand it. She is unique. I don't want to put more pressure on myself, I'm at my level and I don't think I'm capable of getting something like her. I want to go step by step. Victoria Jimenez Kasintseva
14-year old Jimenez Kasintseva, who is the youngest player in the draw, flourished as the front-runner to breeze to a 6-3 6-2 victory over No 13 seed Zhuoxuan Bai in just one hour.
“It was a tough match,” stated the No 9 seed, the first Andorran to make a junior major final. “Today I think I played well, I was intense the whole time.
“I served really well. I’m managed to control the match well. Today I was trying to be less nervous. I still was, but I wanted to start well.
“I was leading the match from the start.
“This is one more tournament. It’s very incredible, but I want more.
“Tomorrow is the final, so I will see. But I’m very happy right now.”
In the second semi-final, Baszak brought an end to Alexandra Vecic’s impressive run after a 2 hour 22 minute battle, 7-5 2-6 6-2.
The German had previously took out the top seed, Elsa Jacquemot from France, in the second round.
The major juniors are a stepping stone towards greatness for some, with the likes of Alexander Zverev, Cori Gauff, Denis Shapovalov, Jelena Ostapenko, Andrey Rublev, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Daria Kasatkina all having won Junior Grand Slams since 2014 and proceeding to make a big imprint on global tennis.
Opportunity knocks for both the Girls and Boys finalists this coming weekend to join those esteemed ranks.
Tennis is one of the most international sports and there now will be a first in the girls’ singles final on Saturday when the tiny nation of Andorra is represented by 14-year-old.
Jimenez Kasintseva is the daughter of former player Joan Jimenez, who said on ausopen.com: “We are from a very small country, with very big difficulties to play tennis because we are a ski country.
“We have only one indoor court in the whole country.”
The teenager hopes to be an inspiration, saying: “I’m kind of the first tennis player [from there], so I would like to encourage Andorran tennis players to fight for it because I’m sure there’s a lot of people there that want to be living this dream.”
Remarkably, Jimenez Kasintseva, who goes into the final as the favourite to lift the silverware as she is seeded at No 9, is bidding to become the first Grand Slam champion from Andorra, ever.
Three years older, at 17, Baszak is unseeded but equally eager to be the first Polish girls’ champion at the Australian Open since Magdalena Grzybowska in 1996, and at any major since Iga Swiatek won the Wimbledon junior title in 2018.
Baszak is also seeking to become the first girls’ singles winner at a major with a one-handed backhand since Lourdes Domínguez Lino at Roland Garros 1999.
It will be the pair’s first meeting.
Jimenez Kasintseva sneaked into the semi-finals after beating the No 2 seed, American Robin Montgomery, the reigning Orange Bowl champion, 1-6 7-5 6-2.
The Andorran had previously saved 3 match points in a previous match, so her journey to the final had required both character and tenacity.
“I really don’t know how I manage sometimes,” Victoria admits. “I have played many games in which I was behind on the scoreboard and I ended up winning.
“I just try and keep trying. It gives me a lot of security because I know that even if it goes behind it does not mean that I will lose.
“The only moment where you lose is when you lose the last point of the game.
“It’s about trying and being positive,” she added, revealing an interesting quality that is likely a guarantee her success in a world like tennis.
Her fighting spirit and love for the game have helped her to overcome many barriers.
“My father has told me stories of when he played, it was a little crazy his thing,” she said. “There was no one to travel with him, and he also did not take his tennis seriously enough and this is why he’s there with me every day.
“[I] try not to make the same mistakes he does.”
Victoria already speaks five languages, Spanish, Catalan, French, English and Russian, and has fierce ambition.
”I chose to play tennis, I chose it,” states the Andorran left-hander, who has clear references in tennis.
“Rafa Nadal is the one who inspires me clearly, I also like Petra Kvitova a lot, how she plays… I look a lot at lefties.”
Just one year younger than Coco Gauff, she doesn’t like being compare to the American.
“Coco Gauff, there is only one. She is an amazing player, she has an amazing game and an amazing mindset too,” she says
“She has a lot of pressure to deal with and is able to withstand it. She is unique.
“I don’t want to put more pressure on myself, I’m at my level and I don’t think I’m capable of getting something like her. I want to go step by step.”
On Saturday, Victoria Jimenez Kasintseva has the chance of taking her very next step.
Meanwhile, in the girls doubles final, No 4 seeds Alexandra Eala & Priska Madelyn Nugroho needed only 49 minutes to be crowned AO champions after dispatching Ziva Falkner & Matilda Mutavdzic, 6-1 6-2.