Melbourne | McHugh flies the flag in AO juniors

Britain’s Aidan McHugh from Glasgow came through a tough test against Croatia’s Filip Cristian McHugh to reach the second round of the Junior Boys’ Singles at the Australian Open on Sunday.

He prevailed 6-4 7-6(3) to set up a meeting with French qualifier Jaimee Floyd Angele, who took out the fourth seed, Ulsung Park from Korea, 7-6(4) 6-4.

Brits Jack Draper and George Loffhagen both went out in straight sets in their openers

Czech Dalibor Svrcina scored a 6-3 6-4 win over Draper, while qualifier Philip Henning saw off Loffhagen’s challenge, 7-6(5) 7-5.

On the second day of juniors action at Melbourne Park, it was the top seeds who took centre stage in both the boys’ and girls’ draws.

On the boys’ side, Russian Timofey Skatov opened his campaign in style with a 6-2 6-3 win over China’s Ye Cong Mo.

Chinese 16-year-old Xinyu Wang was just as clinical in the girls’ draw, with the top seed disposing of Japan’s Sakura Hosogi, 6-1 6-4.

The upset of the day came on the girls’ side, with unseeded American Dalayna Hewitt defeating Argentine fourth seed Maria Lourdes Carle, 7-6(5) 6-4.

The 17-year-old is carrying form into the tournament after reaching the semi-final in Traralgon last week, before pulling out of her match before a ball was hit with a leg injury.

“It means so much, it’s my first time here,” Hewitt said. “I really love it, all of the people are amazing and this is my dream tournament.

“I’ve seen her play in previous matches against other people, I know that she’s a fighter and it was going to be a tough one going in there.

“She runs down every ball and hits a solid serve, so I knew I had to play my game.”

Despite concerns about her leg heading into the tournament, Hewitt says her physio team has worked tirelessly to bring her back to full fitness.

“The leg is good, I’ve been getting so much work done on it by at least four physios,” she said.

“They’ve all been helping me and I’m doing all that I can to make it better.”

Elsewhere in the girls’ draw, second seed En Liang was made to work extremely hard for her opening win against Australian Olivia Gadecki, claiming a 3-6 6-3 7-6(3) victory.

The other seeds to progress in the opening round were No 6 Joanna Garland, 12th seed Elysia Bolton and 16th seed Kamilla Rakhimova.

Rakhimova defeated Britain’s Ali Collins, 6-2 6-2 to advance.

Qinwen Zheng, the 14th seed, was not so lucky, falling to in straight sets to Australian Amber Marshall 6-1 7-6(6), while 15th seed Yasmine Mansouri was defeated by Thailand’s Mananchaya Sawangkaew, 6-2 6-1.

In the boys’ draw, most of the top seeds enjoyed a regulation day, with No 5 Hugo Gaston, No 7 Sebastian Korda, ninth-seeded Thiago Seyboth Wild, 12th seed Alexey Zakharov and No 14 Ondrej Styler all progressing through to the second round.

The biggest casualty was South Korean fourth seed Uisung Park, who was defeated by Frenchman Jaime Floyd Angele 7-6(4) 6-4, while 13th seed Andrew Fenty was also eliminated by Turkey’s Yanki Erel in three sets.

Gaston, the 17-year-old from Toulouse, France, improved his current winning streak to 13-matches after winning his first-round junior boys’ match 6-2 6-0 over Siddhant Banthia of India.

He started his winning streak at the last tournament of 2017, scoring the prestigious Grade A Orange Bowl International Tennis Championships title in South Florida in December.

Gaston started his 2018 season last week, winning the Traralgon International Junior tournament, the tuneup event to the Australian Open junior competition, capturing the final with the loss of only two games in a 6-1 6-1 win over Aidan McHugh of Great Britain.

On Sunday, Gaston saved all three break points he faced in his 45 minute match against Banthia, and took advantage of 5 of 11 break points opportunities that the Indian teen offered and posting 22 winners for the match

Gaston learned to play tennis at age two at the tennis club where his father was the president.

Everyone in the family, mum, dad and older brother, Anthony, work in the business end of Airbus, the company that builds planes.

This is his first time playing at the Australian Open and his win against Banthia marks his first win at a Grand Slam.

In 2017, his first year playing junior slams, he lost in the first round at Roland Garros and Wimbledon, and only played the doubles at the US Open.

“Right now my tennis is very good. I feel happy in the court,” said Gaston. “I’m very happy to be playing like that.

“Now it’s all good so I want to continue like that. I’m very happy to win my first match here. It’s not easy to play after just winning a tournament.

“For sure, the Orange Bowl give me confidence. Before then I lost in many first rounds. And after this tournament, I won some matches, and now I won the Orange Bowl and Traralgon.”




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