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Melbourne | Montgomery to meet Jimenez Kasintseva in junior girls QF

Melbourne | Montgomery to meet Jimenez Kasintseva in junior girls QF

While 2nd-seeded Robin Montgomery secured her spot in the quarter-finals, attention was drawn to the youngest player in the junior girls event, 14-year-old Victoria Jimenez Kasintseva of Andorra, who survived 3 match points in a roller coaster affair against Italy’s Melania Delai.

 

I am really happy and love representing Andorra, it’s a pleasure. My father is my coach since day one; he’s always been there for me. He is my tennis. I’m proud that I stayed strong; I didn’t give up. I saved 3 match points. I have nothing to prove yet. Victoria Jimenez Kasintseva

Jimenez Kasintseva, who hails from the tiny European nation with a population of just over 75,000 and only 468 square kilometres of mountainous terrain, was watched by her father Joan Jimenez-Guerra, a former World No 505 on the ATP Tour, and her coach.

“I am really happy and love representing Andorra, it’s a pleasure,” Jimenez Kasintseva told itftennis.com. “My father is my coach since day one; he’s always been there for me. He is my tennis.”

The Andorran trailed for much of the 2-hour and 57-minute match but got through to book her place in the quarters with a 3-6 7-6(7) 7-6(10-7) effort.

“I’m proud that I stayed strong; I didn’t give up. I saved 3 match points,” said Jimenez Kasintseva, who speaks five languages. “I have nothing to prove yet.

“I’m going to fight for every point. I want to be happy on the court, it’s incredible to be here. I want to enjoy it.”

All 16 third round matches took place on a bustling Wednesday at Melbourne Park, as the quarter-final line-up was set for both the girls’ and boys’ singles draws.

While France’s Harold Mayot, the No 1 seed for the boys, and No 2 Martin Damm of the USa, remain, there have been a series of upsets across both events, with just 6 top-8 seeds advancing between them.

America’s Montgomery, used her lefty power to crunch 21 winners in a 6-2 6-3 triumph over Australia’s lone remaining hope, Olivia Gadecki.

Still only 15, Montgomery is a flashy left-hander with a penchant for hot shots.

She won the legendary Orange Bowl crown last month, arguably the biggest tournament in junior tennis outside of the Grand Slams, to top off a fine season, which also saw her win the junior Fed Cup title as part of the victorious USA team.

Seeded second in the girls’ singles in Melbourne, she could well add to her burgeoning reputation this week.

While Montgomery is set to meet Jimenez Kasintseva for a slot in the semi-finals, 16th seed Hong Yi ‘Cody’ Wong hit 16 winners of her own to upset the No 4 seed, Alexandra Eala of the Philippines.

At the tender age of just 14, Eala is 4 years younger than many of her rivals in the girls’ singles, but her talent has already been recognised by the Rafael Nadal academy where she trains as a full-time scholar.

The first Filipina to compete at a Grand Slam since 1991, Eala comes from a sporting family, her mother was a swimmer who raced internationally.

Wong, 17, like Jimenez Kasintseva, is representing a place that doesn’t have an ample tennis past: Hong Kong.

She trains at the Hong Kong Sport Institute, and for 3 years served as a ball girl for the professional-level WTA event, which in recent years has included Naomi Osaka, Venus Williams and the newly-retired Caroline Wozniacki.

“I loved it,” Wong said of being a ball girl, though from 2016-18 she played in the qualifying draw of the same event. “I loved watching [those champions] play – it inspired me so much.

Asked if she’d like to become a top-ranked pro herself, she said: “I wish I can be that person. I will just try to be my best. I will play with my best tennis.”

Wong will meet Weronika Baszak of Poland in the quarter-finals, who continues her dream run through the draw after taking out No 5 seed Linda Fruhvirtova in the first round.

In the other girls’ quarters, Alexandra Vecic, of Germany, will meet No 12 seed Ane Mintegi Del Olmo of Spain, and 8th-seeded Polina Kudermetova takes on Bai Zhuoxuan of China, the No 13 seed.






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