Henry Wancke | 9th Mar 2020 | 0
Melbourne | Mayot, Damm and Cazaux advance in Junior Boys, Montgomery in Girls
© Daniel Pockett/Getty Images
The 2nd round of the Australian Open junior singles competitions were completed on Tuesday, with both top boys and the 2nd-seeded girl coming through unscathed.
I was only two or years old when I was sat in front of the television and Rafael Nadal was playing at Roland Garros. More or less since this day I have been a big fan of his... I had a shock when I saw him play and I was so impressed. That’s what got me interested in tennis. Arthur Cazaux
French top seed Harold Mayot scored a 6-2 6-2 victory over American Aidan Mayo and faces another American next, qualifier Alexander Bernard, in the third round; while No 2 seed Martin Damm progressed at the expense of Serbia’s Hamad Medjedovic, although the American was forced to recover from a set down to win 6-7(3) 6-4 6-4.
France’s Lilian Marmousez stands between him and a place in the last 8.
Another Frenchman, Arthur Cazaux, the No 6 seed, also prevailed 6-4 6-1 against Austria’s Lukas Neumayer to meet Peter Fajta from Hungary next.
Cazaux, the No 5 seed, has grand designs on finishing 2020 as the year-end junior World No 1.
The 17-year-old has made the Top 5 of the ITF World Tennis Tour Junior Rankings presented by IMG Academy for the first time published earlier in the day.
A Junior Grand Slam title is also very much on Cazaux’s mind after winning at Traralgon earlier this month.
Despite coming from a family with no direct tennis lineage, Cazaux’s infatuation with the sport began long ago.
“I was only two or years old when I was sat in front of the television and Rafael Nadal was playing at Roland Garros. More or less since this day I have been a big fan of his,” said Cazaux.
“It was Nadal who introduced me to tennis, and I started out in the sport because of him.
“I had a shock when I saw him play and I was so impressed. That’s what got me interested in tennis.”
Cazaux hopes to bump into Nadal while in Melbourne, although he does have business to attend to, principally winning a Junior Grand Slam title, something his ‘idol’ failed to accomplish.
Whether that is achieved or not, Cazuax is very much part of a promising contingent of French players with Hugo Gaston and Clara Burel, aged 19 and 18 respectively, are making their mark in the professional ranks, while 3 girls are currently grouped in the Top 20 and 2 boys graded in the Top 10 of their respective rankings.
“We have a big group with many players who are playing extremely well and I am very happy to be a part of this group,” added Cazaux. “We support each other, boost each other and look to progress each other.”
The only other seeded boy in action on Tuesday was Switzerland’s Dominic Stricker, the 7th seed who dispatched Coleman Wong of Hong Kong 6-4 6-4 to set up a third-round showdown with China’s Yu Zhang.
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In the girls, 2nd-seeded Robin Montgomery has taken over the favourite’s mantel after the premature departure of top seed Elsa Jacquemot from France in round 2, and remains on track after overcoming Slovenia’s Pia Lovric, 6-3 7-5.
She may well have a love for reading World War Two books but it is career-elevating victories in the latter stages of 2019 which have left the American battle-hardened.
The teenager enjoyed an extremely progressive end to the previous campaign as she won all 7 matches she contested as USA were crowned Junior Fed Cup by BNP Paribas champions for a 3rd successive year in September.
More was to follow as Montgomery, who is half-Jamaican, claimed the maiden Grade A title of her career as she dispatched all before her at the prestigious Orange Bowl tournament at Plantation in December.
“After winning the Orange Bowl and Junior Fed Cup, I definitely feel more confident coming into tournaments such as Junior Grand Slams,” Montgomery told itftennis.com.
“It helped me realise that I do belong here and that I can compete against the other girls playing big tournaments. It also made me realise that I can be one of the top players.”
Montgomery’s evolution is even more impressive given she is only 15 and her fellow competitors at tournaments can be up to three years older.
Her third-round opponent, for instance, is 17-year-old Australian qualifier Olivia Gadecki.
“I enjoy playing players who are older than me. I feel less pressure – I like playing them,” said Montgomery, who revealed that as a left-hander she can hit a right-handed overhead smash.
“My coaches always tell me before I go on court that ‘there is always going to be one winner and one loser’,” added Montgomery, who growing up had a pet tarantula.
“For me, that helps me get through matches and reminds me that I have to enjoy myself on court.
“No matter what the end result, I know that I am the same person and people will still support me whether I win or lose.”
Another couple of players proving that age is little barrier to success are Alexandra Eala of the Philippines and Andorra’s Victoria Jimenez Kasintseva, who are both aged 14 and have reached the third round of the girls’ draw.
No 4 seed Eala progressed after defeating Julie Belgraver of the Netherlands, 6-0 3-6 6-1, and will now face the 16th seed Hong Yi Cody Wong of Hong Kong for a place in the quarters.
Kasintseva, meanwhile, who is seeded 9 in Melbourne, will play Italy’s Melania Delai for a place in the last 8 after overpowering Czech Republic’s Kristyna Lavickova, 7-6(5) 6-0, in round 3.