Wimbledon Juniors | Trio of Brits march on in Juniors
Britain’s trio of juniors continued their respective runs in the Junior Boys Championships at Wimbledon on Tuesday.
Jack Draper showed scintillating form as he ousted Bulgarian No 7 seed Adrian Andreev, 6-3 6-0 on Court No 14 to reach the third round.
Not only did Draper knock out a seed, Andreev is also the youngest player to have appeared in an ATP main draw event when, as a 16-year-old, he was given a wild card into the Sofia Open in his native Bulgaria earlier this year.
On the adjacent court, Draper’s next opponent, the 11th seed Tristan Boyer from the USA was locked in a close three-setter win over Jesper De Jong of the Netherlands, 6-7(6) 6-4 9-7.
Boyer, who had never played an advantage set before, said he felt comfortable throughout the final games.
“It wasn’t that different, I guess,” Boyer said. “I kind of got in a serving rhythm and I think I slowly applied some pressure on the serve, found what I could do on his serve without doing too much and giving him an easy hold.”
In the final game, with De Jonge serving, Boyer said he increased his energy level and didn’t get discouraged, despite seeing four match points come and go.
“He saved three with first serves, two aces and one forced error return,” Boyer said. “The fourth one, I missed a second serve return, so that was tough, but aside from that it was a solid game and that’s why I broke him.”
Boyer had a vocal cheering section, although he wasn’t acquainted with his young fans.
“There were these four little girls, the cutest little girls I’ve ever seen in my life, sitting there in the front row,” Boyer said. “That was really cool, and it made me smile a lot.
“In this match and in my match before, there have been a few people who have been a really good crowd and it keeps me really loose on the court, which I think is good.”
When Boyer and Draper meet on Wednesday, there is likely to be quite a cheering squad for both of them.
Draper defeated Boyer, 6-1 6-2, in the first round last week at the Grade 1 in Roehampton, so the American 11th seed knows what to expect.
“He’s been playing a lot on the grass the past month, got some wild cards, so he’s very comfortable on it,” Boyer said.
“We watched all his matches until he lost in Roehampton [in the semi-finals], because that’s how you learn to play, watching someone who is better than you in a particular situation, so we have a pretty good read on what he does.
“These courts are different from Roehampton, much faster, much better bounces, nicer courts; it should be fun.
“I really hope those four girls and their mom come back,” Boyer added, with a smile.
Meanwhile Britain’s Anton Matusevich also took three sets to overcome Deney Wasserman from the Netherlands, 5-7 6-4 7-5, and next takes on the flying Finn, Otto Virtanen, conqueror of No 3 seed American Sebastian Korda from America in the first round, who defeated Argentina’s Thiago Agustin Tirante, 6-3 3-6 6-2, on Tuesday.
Roehampton champion Brandon Nakishima from the US, not seeded at Wimbledon but one of the favourites, found his grass court streak ended abruptly at the hands of No 6 seed and former ITF World No 1 junior Timofei Skatov of Kazakhstan, who played flawless tennis to earn a 6-3 6-4 victory.
French Open champions Chun Hsin Tseng, the top seed remains on track after a 6-3 6-4 win over Arthur Cazaux from France.
In the girls’ event, Britain’s Emma Raducanu dispatched the 11th seed Leylah Annie Fernandez from Canada, 6-2 6-4, to reach the third round where she next meets Joanna Garland from Taipei, a double bagel winner over the No 7 seed, Eleonora Molinaro from Luxembourg.
The top two seeds are now gone from the draw, No 2 and Australian Open champion En Shuo Liang of Chinese Taipei, eliminated on Tuesday by Qinwen Zheng of China, and other casualties American No 5 Alexa Noel alongside Molinaro and No 8 Dane Clara Tauson.
Liang saw her opportunity for another Grand Slam title slip away, the 17-year-old from Taiwan losing to China’s Qinwen Zheng, 6-4 3-6 6-3, on a dry and cool day at the Wimbledon.
The match featured many more unforced errors than winners, with both girls struggling to find any sort of rhythm, but the 15-year-old Zheng stayed positive to claim a spot in the third round in her first appearance at SW19.
Zheng is one of three Chinese players in the third round, with No 4 seed Xinyu Wang and No 10 seed Xiyu Wang also advancing.
Tauson, 15, lost to America’s Lea Ma, 7-6(2), 7-6(4), who reached the third round in a major for the first time by avenging a loss earlier this year to 8th seed.
There were no breaks in the first set, and Ma was not able to hold on to her only break in the second set, but the 17-year-old said she didn’t get nervous in the second set tiebreaker.
“I played really well today,” said Ma, who has been at the IMG Academy since January.
“I was playing with no pressure. Obviously, she’s higher ranked and she younger than me, but I played a lot better than I did the first time.”
On Monday, the big upset was of top seed and 2017 ITF World Junior Champion Whitney Osuigwe, beaten in three sets by Iga Swiatek.
The 17-year-old Pole backed up that win with a second round 6-1 7-6(2) victory over Swiss Simona Waltert, but she still does not consider herself likely to join the Radwanska sisters on the singles honour roll.
“I’m still learning how to play on grass. I don’t feel well on it, admitted Swiatek, who reached the semi-finals and combined with McNally to win the Roland Garros doubles crown.
“Obviously I would love to win on grass, but I don’t know if it’s possible with my play. I will be happy if I win any of the Grand Slams. It don’t have to be Wimbledon.’’
American Caty McNally has had a racquet in her hand since first playing balloon tennis in her Cincinnati living-room and is contesting her third Wimbledon girls’ championships at the age of just 16.
McNally is among the latest wave of Americans girls making an impact on the junior circuit, and even though Osuigwe was an early casualty, the US sisterhood has won five of the past seven junior Grand Slams for the first time since 1980-81.
For McNally, the French Open finalist and doubles champion, a tennis career has always seemed to be her destiny.
She is the daughter of former pro player Lynn, and her older brother, John is on a scholarship at Ohio State University while also planning to pursue a professional career.
“My family didn’t force anything upon me; I just fell in love with the game,’’ McNally says.
“This is my third Wimbledon, so I guess I played when I was 14, which is crazy. I kind of feel old, even though I’m not old at all – it’s kind of weird.’’
She has made a strong transition from clay to grass, which may not be her favourite surface, but is nevertheless one that she believes suits her game.
“I like to come in to the net, serve-and-volleying, or I’ll take returns early and I’ll come in,’’ McNally said after her 6-0 6-4 defeat of British wildcard Destinee Martins in the second round.
“So for me that’s definitely beneficial, because it takes time away from my opponent and it puts more pressure on them.
“I’ve done really well in Paris. I guess I play a little different when I’m on the clay versus the grass.
“When I’m on the clay the points are obviously longer and I’ll try to hit more heavy balls, whereas here it’s important to hit through the court as much as possible and come in.’’
McNally says the support, camaraderie and friendly rivalry among the Americans helps to push them all along, and it was the much-hyped 14-year-old CoCo Gauff who beat her friend and compatriot in both the Roland Garros final and last week’s Grade One tournament at Roehampton.
A big server, and strong hitter, Gauff was inspired by the Williams sisters, and while the Floridian prodigy bears more of a physical resemblance to the lean, long-limbed Venus, it is Serena whom she most admires.
When asked whether her ambitions are to win majors or be No 1, Gauff agrees the best answer is “all of the above”.
She is aiming high, very high, and the French-Wimbledon double would be something special indeed.
“Winning would be great here because every tournament I go into I think I’m going to win because that’s just my mentality,’’ Gauff said after a 6-1 7-5 defeat of Slovakian Lenka Stara.
“I like winning so I’ll put the work in to win and hopefully here I can do the same. I love to hit big, so the grass kind of compliments that.
“I always knew I could compete at the high level if I just put the work in. Right now, winning a junior slam, I never thought I would do that so soon.’’