Melbourne | Top seeds advance as Frey is beaten
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The top seeds in the boys, Harold Mayot and Martin Damm, together with the No 2 seed in the girls, Robin Montgomery, all advanced to the quarter-finals at the Australian Open, but Britain’s Arthur Frey saw his run ended in Melbourne on Wednesday.
Wimbledon gave me a lot of confidence — so did Chengdu. It has helped me with experience. I’ve played 3 straight-set matches here. I have my mark here now. I’m happy for today’s victory. This is my first goal of the year. It’s a good start for me. Harold Mayot
Mayot, 17, is tipped to be the next big thing of French tennis after an impressive 2019 which saw him reach the semi-finals of junior Wimbledon and claim a prestigious junior title in Osaka.
He has already made decent strides on the professional tour, achieving a career-best ranking of No 527 after making the quarters of the Bendigo Challenger earlier this month, where he tested World No 81 Steve Johnson.
With a tattoo depicting the king of the jungle on his back, Mayot has compared his on-court intensity to that of a lion, and he is determined to win his first junior Grand Slam this week.
As top seed in both the boys’ singles and doubles, he’s a big favourite for both titles, and he showed his class on Wednesday by beating American qualifier, Alexander Bernard, a Kalamazoo 16s champion, 6-3 6-2.
Mayot, who turns 18 next Tuesday, was a finalist at the ITF Junior Finals in Chengdu, China, one of the most prestigious events for junior players outside of the majors.
“Wimbledon gave me a lot of confidence — so did Chengdu. It has helped me with experience,” said Mayot, who trains in Paris at the national centre near Roland Garros, where he often gets advice from the likes of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Gael Monfils and Gilles Simon among others.
“I’ve played 3 straight-set matches here,” he said after his win. “I have my mark here now. I’m happy for today’s victory. This is my first goal of the year. It’s a good start for me.”
While Mayot will play No 7 seed Dominic Stephan Stricker of Switzerland, his French training mate Giovanni Mpetshi Perricard earned his way into the last 8, as well, where he meets another French up-and-comer, Timo Legout.
Mpetshi Perricard took out London’s Arthur Fery, the last Brit in the junior singles, in two tight sets, 6-3 7-6(7).
Another American, Martin Damm, holds tennis is his genes as his father, also named Martin, reached a high of No 42 in the ATP rankings back in 1997 and won the US Open doubles title in 2006
Damm, a big-hitting left-hander, is forging his own reputation on the tour, having reached the semi-finals at both the junior French Open and junior Wimbledon last year, and is looking to land his first major title in Melbourne.
He, too, progressed with a 6-3 6-2 win over Lillan Marmousez from France, and will next face another Frenchman, Arthur Cazaux, the No 5 seed, in the quarters.
Damm held a match point in his semi-finalist at the All England Club last year, but lost to the eventual winner Shintaro Mochizuki.
It was an experience that gives the 16-year-old American confidence that he can go deep at the biggest events in the 2020 season.
“I’m super motivated,” Damm said. “Who knows what would have happened [if that match point had gone differently]?”
Damm has trained with Mochizuki at IMG Academy in Florida since the age of 13, as well as Toby Kodat, whom Damm has known since he was five years old.
The trio, who have all had big-time juniors success, are driving one another.
“We play together, we push each other pretty hard,” Damm said. “We do fitness, we eat together, we do everything [together]. The bond between us is pretty strong.”
Damm faces a stern test in Cazaux in the quarters, while No 12 seed Karlis Ozolins of Latvia takes on Egor Agafonov of Russia in the other bottom-half quarter.
Damm speaks for both himself and Mayot when he talks about those aforementioned big expectations for this year: “I want to win a Slam. Get that off of my chest. I’m taking it one match at a time. That’s all that matters to me. If I win it, that would be a bonus.”
Cazaux was severely tested in his encounter with Hungary’s Peter Fajta, but edged his way through, 7-5 3-6 7-6(5).