Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) In 2009, a 19-year-old Belarussian by the name of Victoria Azarenka emerged at the French Open as a quarter-finalist.

Her opponent in that match was Dinara Safina who, at the time, was the world number one in women’s tennis. Azarenka won the first set 6-1 before losing in three.

It was the first of four Grand Slam last eight spots she’d go on to reach and as we skip to the present day she has a very good chance of a semi-final place and potentially winning the tournament outright.

Today Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova played in her first Grand Slam quarter-final. She too is 19 and won the first set 6-1 before ultimately losing to Francesca Schiavone who, at this time, is the only player left to have won at Roland Garros.

The similarities between the pair don’t just stop there. Both had marvelous junior careers and they have good records on all surfaces but particularly hard courts where the bulk of their WTA titles have come.

In many ways though Pavlyuchenkova has a great chance of bettering Azarenka let alone matching her.

The Minsk-born player may not have won a Grand Slam title yet but she’s closed the gap considerably this year. She currently sits at number four in the world rankings after winning the Premier Mandatory event in Miami and reaching the final of the same tier tournament in Madrid.

Yet she could have made it there quicker if her body hadn’t let her down at key moments and her head was screwed on during and just after her teenage years.

Pavlyuchenkova possesses the same power as Azarenka and looks more stable. She’s further down the rankings than Azarenka was in 2009 (#14 compared to #9) but a top 10 place is beckoning after her performance this year.

She did choke the match at a set and 4-1 up but it happens to many young talents against the experienced players. Fitness is an area for her to work on as she did look tired, and compared to the rest of the ladies, a little weighty.

Another problem, or it could be deemed a help, is the instability of the WTA tour. The consistent Grand Slam winners are either ageing or have retired and it’s allowed names like Li Na and Vera Zvonareva to enjoy a renaissance whilst opening the door for Andrea Petkovic, Julia Goerges and other top 10-20 players to break through.

Pavlyuchenkova, like the rest of the aforementioned, will soon be listed as a potential Grand Slam winner. It’s up to the older players in and around the top 10 to hold on to their positions as the likes of Pavlyuchenkova chase them down with Azarenka potentially being the main person to beat out of the rising batch of tennis players from this generation.

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French Open Juniors 2011 – Day 2

The second day of the juniors had a more settled outlook than the opening exchanges as the first round matches were concluded and exits occurred elsewhere en route to the third.

No youngster carried more expectation than Caroline Garcia with the tennis world now keeping a keen eye on her progress to the WTA world number one spot, according to Andy Murray.

She handled it well. The French 17-year-old only stayed on court for just over an hour as she overcame her Russian opponent Victoria Kan 6-1, 6-4. Argentinian qualifier Catalina Pella will be her next adversary.

The notable absentee from the rest of the second round names is Ganna Poznikhirenko after the Ukrainian 12th seed lost to Australia’s Ashleigh Barty.

The 15-year-old came through in an epic battle which saw two tiebreaks going 11-9 to Poznikhirenko and then 10-8 to Barty before she managed to win with a 6-3 scoreline in the third set.

In the second round matches it was another Frenchwoman who had the attention as Estelle Cascino beat eighth seed Montserrat Gonzalez in straight sets.

Her next opponent will be ninth seed Ons Jabeur while some interesting match-ups are already beginning to form in the third round.

Daria Gavrilova (1) will play Maryna Zanevska (14), Alison van Uytvanck (11) faces Yulia Putintseva (7) and Monica Puig (5) has a tricky tie against unseeded Ukrainian Sofiya Kovalets.

caroline Garcia

The boys’ singles draw is looking wide open with just two seeds through to the third round and only seven left in the whole tournament.

Top seed Jiri Vesely’s exit couldn’t have been a more stunning start and seemed to have set a trend but there was little trouble for the second seed Hugo Dellien who came through his first round match 6-3, 6-2.

There wasn’t such joy for 13th seed Thiago Moura Monteiro though. In a deciding final set which lasted almost two hours, the Brazilian lost 14-12 to French wildcard Laurent Lokoli in his opening match.

It was a bad day in general for Brazil as their 10th seed Bruno Sant’anna lost in the second round to Miki Jankovic (no relation to Jelena).

But perhaps the biggest surprise of the day was Andrew Whittington’s defeat not just for the eighth seed crashing out but the manner in which it happened. It took just 49 minutes for Spain’s Oriol Roca Batalla to seal victory as he crushed his Aussie foe 6-1, 6-0.

Elsewhere there were wins for Viseley’s successor Yaraslau Shyla against the USA’s Shane Vinsant and fifth seed Roberto Carballes Baena also made it to the third round.

A full check of the Day 2 results, scores and match statistics for the boys’ singles and girls’ singles is available via the Roland Garros website.

French Open Juniors 2011 – Day 1

Jiri Vesely (CZE) With 18 of the world’s top 20 juniors in the boys’ draw it was a strong field but already that tally has fallen to 12 as the seeds dropped like flies on the opening day.

The biggest shock by far was the fall of top seed, world number one and Australian Open boys’ champion Jiri Vesely to Belarus’ Yaraslau Shyla.

Vesely claims clay is a good surface for him and he looked right when kicking his tournament off with a 6-4 scoreline in set one. But the Czech was pegged back in the second, losing it 6-1 before being seen off in the decider with a reverse score of the first.

Shyla had only played in one Grand Slam event before this one and the 18-year-old described the win as “perfect”.

Also being taken out was Austrian Patrick Ofner who a week ago had been in the final of another Grade A event, the Trofeo Bonfiglio. His performance in that tournament increased his ranking position 14 places and into the top 10 but he succumbed to one of the players he overtook in Andres Artunedo Martinavarr.

The Spaniard may fancy a decent run after his half of the draw was weakened by sixth and seventh seeds Tiago Fernandes and Mate Pavic’s exits. Fernandes, winner of last year’s Australian Open juniors, was forced to retire against Filip Peliwo whilst Pavic lost at the hands of Lukas Vrnak in straight sets.

Britain’s George Morgan (9) also fell along with Australian Luke Saville (15) but there were wins for Oliver Golding (4), Roberto Carballes Baena (5), Andrew Whittington (8), Joao Pedro Sorgi (10) Dominic Thiem (14) and Bruno Sant’anna (16).

The girls’ singles was relatively quiet in comparison. Russia have been doing well at this year’s French Open so far and that trend continued with first and second seeds Daria Gavrilova and Irina Khromacheva coming through with no trouble.

The only casualties of note were Argentina’s Victoria Bosio (16), the Ukraine’s Kateryn Kozlova (15) and Japan’s Miho Kowase (10), the latter being beaten by 16-year-old Sofiya Kovalets who’s an unseeded danger at 21st in the world.

All eyes will be on third seed Caroline Garcia today as she starts her campaign in the juniors after being two games away from beating Maria Sharapova in the second round of the women’s singles.

To see the results and scores in full then the Roland Garros website has all the details from the boys’ singles and girls’ singles.

French Open Juniors 2011 – Main Draw

The French Open juniors starts today with the main draw missing some decent players who lost out in qualifying.

Qualification top seed and world junior number 45 Frederico Ferreira Silva didn’t even last the first round as Croatian Filip Veger beat the Portugese and then Sweden’s 13th seed Stefan Lindmark in straight sets to book a main draw spot.

He joins fellow unseeded players Gianluigi Quinzi and Aslan Karatsev along with five of the 16 seeds in the boys’ draw which features 18 of the current top 20 juniors in the world.

Of the eight players to get through in the girls’ qualifying four were seeds but such is the magnetism of the Grand Slam occasion, there was an array of highly-ranked players even in the qualification rounds.

Also some of the players only choose to participate in the Grand Slam or Grade A tournaments of the junior circuit as they concentrate on the ITF events and aim to establish themselves on the WTA tour. Therefore even if a player is ranked low on the junior rankings they are a threat.

This is certainly the best time to see the future talents on the big stage. The main draws in full are:

Boys’ Singles – 1st Round

VESELY, Jiri (CZE) [1] vs. SHYLA, Yaraslau (BLR)
RANCEZOT, Armel (FRA) (W) vs. VINSANT, Shane (USA)
MONTGOMERY, Wayne (RSA) vs. JANKOVIC, Miki (SRB) (Q)
COPPEJANS, Kimmer (BEL) vs. SANT’ANNA, Bruno (BRA) [16]
MORGAN, George (GBR) [9] vs. DELIC, Mate (CRO)
HALEBIAN, Alexios (USA) vs. BOIS, Michael (FRA) (W)
BERMAN, Sean (AUS) vs. QUINZI, Gianluigi (ITA) (Q)
BARRERE, Gregoire (FRA) (W) vs. CARBALLES BAENA, Roberto (ESP) [5]
HORANSKY, Filip (SVK) [3] vs. KRSTIN, Pedja (SRB)
CAGNINA, Julien (BEL) vs. FAVROT, Alexandre (FRA) (W)
MANAFOV, Vladyslav (UKR) vs. KRUEGER, Mitchell (USA)
EDMUND, Kyle (GBR) vs. THIEM, Dominic (AUT) [14]
SORGI, Joao Pedro (BRA) [10] vs. NUNEZ, Marco Aurei (MEX)
COUACAUD, Enzo (FRA) vs. KARATSEV, Aslan (RUS) (Q)
LENZ, Julian (GER) vs. ROCA BATALLA, Oriol (ESP) (Q)
VEGER, Filip (CRO) (Q) vs. WHITTINGTON, Andrew (AUS) [8]
FERNANDES, Tiago (BRA) [6] vs. PELIWO, Filip (CAN)
FRATANGELO, Bjorn (USA) vs. DUBARENCO, Maxim (MDA)
MILOJEVIC, Nikola (SRB) vs. ALVAREZ LLAMAS, Axel (ESP) (Q)
LESCURE, Mick (FRA) (W) vs. DE LOORE, Joris (BEL) [11]
SAVILLE, Luke (AUS) [15] vs. UCHIDA, Kaichi (JPN)
SBOROWITZ, Matias (CHI) vs. GIRON, Marcos (USA)
BOLTZ, Sebastien (FRA) (W) vs. KUZMANOV, Dimitar (BUL) (Q)
PATINO, Luis (MEX) (Q) vs. GOLDING, Oliver (GBR) [4]
PAVIC, Mate (CRO) [7] vs. VRNAK, Lukas (CZE)
NOVIKOV, Dennis (USA) vs. BOURGUE, Mathias (FRA)
KERN, Robin (GER) vs. MARIN, Teodor Nicolae (ROU)
ARTUNEDO MARTINAVARR, Andres (ESP) vs. OFNER, Patrick (AUT) [12]
MONTEIRO, Thiago Moura (BRA) [13] vs. LOKOLI, Laurent (FRA) (W)
LUPESCU, Jannick (NED) vs. WAGLAND, Ben (AUS)
LAMASINE, Tristan (FRA) (W) vs. HIDALGO, Diego (ECU)
STYSLINGER, Mac (USA) vs. DELLIEN, Hugo (BOL) [2]

Girls’ Singles – 1st Round

GAVRILOVA, Daria (RUS) [1] vs. SEATEUN, Charlene (FRA) (W)
MALOVA, Viktoria (SVK) vs. JAKSIC, Jovana (SRB)
DINU, Cristina (ROU) vs. SUVRIJN, Jade (FRA) (W)
GONZALEZ, Domenica (ECU) vs. ZANEVSKA, Maryna (UKR) [14]
JABEUR, Ons (TUN) [9] vs. NINOMIYA, Makoto (JPN)
TANG, Hao Chen (CHN) (Q) vs. SASNOVICH, Aliaksandra (BLR) (S)
CASCINO, Estelle (FRA) (W) vs. ROHANOVA, Petra (CZE)
BUTKOVSKA, Lucia (SVK) vs. GONZALEZ, Montserrat (PAR) [8]
GARCIA, Caroline (FRA) [3] vs. KAN, Victoria (RUS)
PELLA, Catalina (ARG) (Q) vs. OZAKI, Risa (JPN) (Q)
NAUTA, Stephanie (USA) (L) vs. KU FLORES, Patricia Iveth (PER)
CEPELOVA, Jana (SVK) vs. KOZLOVA, Kateryna (UKR) [15]
VAN UYTVANCK, Alison (BEL) [11] vs. HADDAD MAIA, Beatriz (BRA) (Q)
HAAS, Barbara (AUT) vs. SCHUURS, Demi (NED)
SHARIPOVA, Sabina (UZB) vs. HESSE, Amandine (FRA) (W)
RAZAFIMAHATRATRA, Zarah (MAD) vs. PUTINTSEVA, Yulia (RUS) [7]
PUIG, Monica (PUR) [5] vs. TOMOVA, Viktoriya (BUL)
PARTAUD, Marine (FRA) (W) vs. MALECKOVA, Jesika (CZE)
SCHMIEDLOVA, Anna Karolina (SVK) vs. ALLGURIN, Ellen (SWE)
KOVALETS, Sofiya (UKR) vs. KOWASE, Miho (JPN) [10]
SALNIKOVA, Daria (RUS) [13] vs. PAIN, Anaeve (FRA) (W)
IVAKHNENKO, Valentyna (UKR) (Q) vs. DUVAL, Victoria (USA)
LIZARAZO, Yuliana (COL) vs. DE VROOME, Indy (NED)
BROULEAU, Lou (FRA) (W) vs. KOSTIC, Natalija (SRB) [4]
KOVINIC, Danka (MNE) [6] vs. CASARES, Marie Elise (ECU) (Q)
CSOREGI, Ilka (ROU) vs. THOLEY, Lea (FRA) (W)
KONTAVEIT, Anett (EST) vs. SKAMLOVA, Chantal (SVK)
BARTY, Ashleigh (AUS) vs. POZNIKHIRENKO, Ganna (UKR) [12]
BOSIO, Victoria (ARG) [16] vs. KATO, Miyu (JPN)
PAQUET, Chloe (FRA) (Q) vs. VEKIC, Donna (CRO)
KREMEN, Ilona (BLR) vs. ZHAO, Carol (CAN) (Q)
MAKAROVA, Christina (USA) vs. KHROMACHEVA, Irina (RUS) [2]

To see how all the qualifying rounds panned out then the boys’ and girls’ singles results are available via the ITF website.

Caroline Garcia

The biggest second round story from Roland Garros surrounded a French teenager who almost won the breakthrough game of her career.

Caroline Garcia

Caroline Garcia found herself a set and two breaks up against world number eight and three-time Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova before losing 11 straight games.

The 17-year-old from Lyon looked cagey at the beginning of the match after struggling to hold serve and it looked as if that was how the rest of the afternoon would go.

Then she broke Sharapova and the crowd began to lift, suddenly sensing their homegrown talent had a chance against a title favourite whose prospects had increased after Kim Clijsters’ earlier defeat.

Sharapova’s exit would have been more of a shock seeing as she won in Rome recently and Clijsters had only just come back from injury.

Garcia took the first set 6-3 and although she should be admired for that, her Russian opponent was unbelievably poor at times.

A stat which stood out was Garcia winning 16 points in 4-8 stroke rallies compared to Sharapova’s four. Not surprising when she describes herself on clay as “a cow on ice”.

But for however bad the seventh seed was, Garcia can be given much credit. The power on her is remarkable at such a young age and to even be taking Sharapova to lengthy rallies and bossing her in them is also a feat.

In the second set particularly, her shots, including a stunning return of serve, made her look as if she was the world’s top 10 player up against a wildcard.

It was going great until she was broken at 4-1. Sharapova then held to take it to 4-3 before the turning point.

At 30-30, Garcia hit a shot narrowly close to the baseline which, if in, would have put the momentum back in her favour. The umpire had a look and agreed with the original long call, much to the dismay of the French crowd.

From that moment onwards, Sharapova broke again and never looked back eventually winning 3-6, 6-4, 6-0. A cruel last set for the youngster but along with her second round appearance at the Australian Open this year she’ll climb the rankings and should find herself in the top 150.

It was apt that Garcia announced herself to the world after playing Sharapova, having won Wimbledon as a 17-year-old. Like she pointed out in her post-match interview, she’d already been around the tour a while before that win so the fact Garcia is playing more ITF events than junior tournaments is encouraging.

What’s impressive is her nerve. She did look tense before stepping out onto Philippe Chatrier Court but after breaking Sharapova on several occasions she looked composed until the capitulation was triggered. Experience will aid her and once that inevitable big win comes she’ll be reaping the benefits.

Andy Murray was certainly impressed and Garcia will next be seen in the juniors tournament on Monday, so expect more from her progress here next week and certainly beyond that.

Petko Dance

It’s come to my attention that I haven’t mentioned the Petkovic dance on this blog yet.

As she’s getting better, it will become more frequent; a future Grand Slam victory dance perhaps?

Andrea, please don’t ever stop.

Serb Your Enthusiasm

On the day former champion Ana Ivanovic crashed out of the French Open, new talent Bojana Jovanovski showed why Serbian tennis still has a bright future.

The 19-year-old is the youngest player in the top 50 of the women’s game and in her first round match against Andrea Petkovic she showed why she’s there.

She did lose 6-4, 7-6 (7-3) but had taken several breaks and even led *5-2 in the second set before eventually being rolled over by the 15th seed. Yet I found her match enthralling and I also think Jovanovski is my new favourite player on the WTA tour.

Let me just point out, I had been subjected to Aravane Rezai’s dour show on Day 2 as well as the appallingly bad match between Patty Schynder and Sorana Cirstea beforehand so that might have played a part but I thought Jovanovski was great.

Her forehand in particular produced some thunderous shots down the line which culminated in her 31 winners but 41 unforced errors along with Petkovic turning up a gear towards the end of the match ultimately lost it for her.

My only qualm is she reminds me of Vicky Pollard (just the hairstyle and earrings). However I’m looking forward to watching her hopefully progress into a future household name.

caroline Garcia

An even younger player did make the second round though. French wildcard Caroline Garcia beat experienced campaigner Zuzana Ondraskova to set up a meeting with Maria Sharapova.

The 17-year-old had also reached the second round of the Australian Open this year and although further progress this week looks unlikely, she could improve France’s underachieving status in the sport with Mary Pierce and Amelie Mauresmo now just memories.

Heather Watson could do the same for British tennis. She’s already become the first British woman to reach the second round at Roland Garros for 17 years. Elena Baltacha may be slightly miffed having won her match against Watson’s close friend Sloane Stephens.

Fellow American prospects Christina McHale and Coco Vandeweghe also lost to Sara Errani and Maria Kirilenko respectively whilst Melanie Oudin couldn’t upset current title-holder Francesca Schiavone.

In the mens’ singles there were also some good results for the emerging players.

Kei Nishikori has reached the second round for the second consecutive year after beating Yen-Hsun Lu. He’ll have to defeat 31st seed Sergiy Stakhovsky if he’s to top his longest run at the French Open.

Ryan Harrison got a place in the first round thanks to a lucky loser spot and almost took full advantage before fifth seed Robin Soderling finished him off. The 19-year-old looked fully out of his depth when his Swedish opponent destroyed him 6-1 in the first set before the American took the second on a tiebreak.

Despite then breaking Soderling many times throughout the rest of the match he couldn’t keep his own service game together and lost a spirited display in four sets.

To summarise, it’s been a great first round for the young tennis players, especially the women. Some of the other selected results are:

MS: Carlos Berlocq (ARG) d. Bernard Tomic (AUS) 7-5, 6-4, 6-2

MS: Michael Berrer (GER) d. Milos Raonic 26 (CAN) 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4

MS: Alexandr Dolgopolov 21 (UKR) d. Rainer Schuettler (GER) 6-3, 6-3, 6-1

WS: Rebecca Marino (CAN) d. Kateryna Bondarenko (UKR) 6-3, 6-3

WS: Simona Halep (ROU) d. Alla Kudryavtseva (RUS) 6-2, 6-1

WS: Gisela Dulko (ARG) d. Irina Falconi (USA) 6-3, 6-4

WS: Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 14 (RUS) d. Yaroslava Shvedova (KAZ) 7-5, 6-3

WS: Polona Hercog (SLO) d. Olivia Sanchez (FRA) 6-0, 6-1

Lost Talents

Marin Cilic’s defeat in the first round of the French Open to 33-year-old Spaniard Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo compounded what has been a tough year for the former top 10 player.

The Croatian was seeded 19th but lost in straight sets a man whose only Grand Slam victories came in the 2006 French Open, where he reached the fourth round.

Now world number 20 Cilic is likely to drop further down the rankings when only last year he sat at number nine following an impressive Australian Open semi-final run.

So what has happened to the once lauded young talent and former French Open junior champion? Well 67 unforced errors doesn’t help and certainly aided his downfall against Hidalgo but there are aspects of his game which need improving.

When looking at his only ATP final appearance this year in Marseille compared to his Australian Open quarter-final there are notable differences.

The first is the movement. Some of the shots Robin Soderling produced in Marseille were reachable but Cilic either stood still or gave up trying to make the return.

Another thing is his reading of the game. Against Andy Roddick, Cilic anticipated the ball’s placement and the American’s shot selection much better.

And also he can’t rely solely on his serve. At 6′ 6” it’s a great weapon to have, smashing in aces on your own service game but it’s not enough to win you matches against the top players. Ivo Karlovic and John Isner have yet to learn that lesson as well.

Mentality is also key. I heard American youngster Irina Falconi say after her first round defeat that tennis is “100% physical and 100% mental”.

Cilic has spoke before of feeling nervous before big matches, something I’m sure most players experience, but if it gets to you during the match then you’re more than likely going to crumble.

Marin Čilić on the receiving side

Another first round exit came in the form of Ernests Gulbis whom I’ve written about before. Back then I admit my thoughts on Gulbis’ similar ranking ‘injustice’ were sketchy but after more thorough research I’ve come to realise how important mentality is.

One thing I labelled Gulbis was a “headcase” and I stand by that. His interviews are often light-hearted and clichés are rarities, which is nice and different but some of the things he comes out with raise eyebrows over commitment issues.

Upon publication Gulbis fans hated me for saying that but he’s admitted to not enjoying practice whilst saying he loves being on the court and winning matches.

Unfortunately it’s a symbiotic relationship. If it wasn’t, I could be at Roland Garros.

In one interview Gulbis says he’s happy no matter how he wins. In contrast, women’s number one Caroline Wozniacki has said she’s a perfectionist and works on the things that didn’t please her during victories.

Perhaps that is the difference; I’m not sure. Certainly maturity on the court is something for Gulbis to improve on. One-time racket-smashers Victoria Azarenka and Andy Murray have become much better players for it.

Gulbis is a player who intrigues and often confuses me. I don’t know whether to love him for his casual style or hate him for how it affects his tennis.

Him and Cilic are both currently 22 and have many years ahead of them. Although the Croat is ranked higher than the Latvian, they both have top 10 potential. Whether they’ll get there and remain there, depends on how they react to their current slumps.

52nd Trofeo Bonfiglio 2011 – Boys’ Singles Final

The 2011 Trofeo Bonfiglio boys’ singles final strangely finished with the same scoreline as the girls’ final as Filip Horansky won 6-4, 6-2 against Patrick Ofner.

It marked the first time a Slovakian had won at the boys’ event and the 18-year-old will be hoping to add more success to his maiden Grade A tournament victory.

Being the seventh seed and junior world number 10, Horansky went into the match as the favourite. Plus his unseeded Austrian opponent had won just once at a Grade A tournament before this one, so reaching the final was a surprise in itself.

The match definitely wasn’t a classic with several exchanges of breaks in the first set. After Horansky took an early 4-1 lead, he was then pegged back but managed to come through and take it 6-4.

Horansky put the victory down to Ofner’s tiredness as the Slovak led 3-1 and 4-2 in the second. The last two games epitomised the match.

At 40-0 down, Horanksy came back to break before struggling to serve out the championship. He squandered two championship points before Ofner failed to convert a break point.

But similar in conduct to the whole final, Horansky did enough to secure victory eventually winning on his fourth championship point.

Filip Horansky

As with the girls’ singles, highlights of the boys’ final and surreal Rocky-style music can be found on La Gazzetta dello Sport website.

52nd Trofeo Bonfiglio 2011 – Girls’ Singles Final

Irina Khromacheva (RUS) Irina Khromacheva won the girls’ singles title in Milan after beating her doubles partner Danka Kovinic 6-4, 6-2 in the final.

She joins previous winners such as Gabriela Sabatini, Anna Kournikova and Dominika Cibulkova in taking the crown whilst extending her unbeaten run to 26 matches.

It’s not quite to the same level as Novak Djokovic’s run but it’s brought Khromacheva victories in two Grade 1 junior tournaments and two $10,000 ITF events as well as this Grade A success (equivalent to a junior Slam).

Now her coach is already planning the 16-year-old’s future and has said the Russian will play mostly ITF tournaments next year to improve her WTA world ranking, which currently stands at 518.

Montenegro’s Kovinic can take heart from her display and tournament performance as a whole. After being 4-0 down at the start of the match she battled back to 4-4 before losing the first set of her 2011 Trofeo Bonfiglio campaign.

In the second, she had to deal with an injury to her arm but after failing to convert seven game points at *2-4 it left Khromacheva with a simple hold to win in front of 1,500 people.

This may not be the last we see of Kovinic though. At #16 on the junior circuit before the tournament, which will rise next week, she may notice that 2004 beaten finalist Victoria Azarenka is now ranked the WTA’s fourth best player.

It should be mentioned that Khromacheva was the only top five player in the junior rankings to feature at Tennis Club Milano Alberto Bonacossa but having only just turned 16 on May 12th, she’s the youngest and a hot prospect at that.

As with the boys’ singles, highlights of the girls’ final and surreal Rocky-style music can be found at La Gazzetta dello Sport website.

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