US Open Juniors 2011 – Boys’ Singles Round-Up

Last year saw an all-American final in the boys’ US Open juniors as Jack Sock prevailed to take glory in his home tournament.

This time there were 16 American players out to claim the title previously won by Andy Roddick, Stefan Edberg and Pat Cash.

Here’s how the tournament progressed:

Round 1: Home advantage certainly helped in the opening round of the boys’ singles as several upsets involving US players took place. Wildcard JC Aragone beat eighth seed Mate Pavic, Mitchell Krueger defeated seventh seed Dominic Thiem and Alexios Halebian saw off fifth seed Thiago Moura Monteiro to join fellow American Bjorn Fratangelo (3) in round two. The biggest shock of the round came at the bottom of the draw as Czech Adam Pavlasek won in straight sets against Wimbledon winner and second seed Luke Saville. Andrew Whittington (11), Patrick Ofner (12) and Jeson Patrombon (16) were the other casualties of note.

Round 2: In a much quieter round the only big names to fall were that of low-numbered seeds Matias Sborowitz and Joao Pedro Sorgi. The number of Americans was slashed from six to two though as only Bjorn Fratangelo and Alexios Halebian came through their matches. Luke Saville’s conqueror also recorded a stunning double bagel victory over Chilean Gonzalo Lama to reach the last 16.

Round 3: The biggest match of the third round was between third seed, French Open champion and home favourite Bjorn Fratangelo against 13th seeded Brit Oliver Golding. After winning the first set 7-5, Golding was forced into a decider after Fratangelo won the second 6-3. The final set produced the same scoreline but this time in the favour of Golding. However, America was to have its revenge over the British as Alexios Halebian overcame Wimbledon finalist and ninth seed Liam Broady in three sets. The success for the folk across the pond prevailed though as George Morgan and Kyle Edmund made it three Brits in the last eight. Fourth seed Hugo Dellien also fell to Egyptian Karim Hossam. Elsewhere, top seed Jiri Vesely continued his imperious form by reaching the quarter-finals having only lost 11 games in the tournament while Luke Saville’s successor Adam Pavlasek joined Filip Horansky (6) to make up the last eight line-up.

Quarter-finals: Australian Open champion and world number one Jiri Vesely took on the last surviving American in the draw Alexios Halebian and despite struggling to a 7-5 first set win, the Czech killed off the hopes of a home winner at this year’s US Open boys’ event. Brit Kyle Edmund won a comfortable match over fellow unseeded professional Karim Hossam to set up a semi-final with Vesely. His compatriots Oliver Golding and George Morgan won their quarter-final matches after losing the opening sets. Thirteenth seed Golding defeated his higher ranked opponent Filip Horansky (6) and tenth seed Morgan beat plucky competitor Adam Pavlasek to guarantee there would be at least one British player in the final.

Semi-finals: In the all-British clash between Oliver Golding and George Morgan, it was Golding who emerged victorious but it was a real contrast between the two sets he won. Golding raced to a 6-0 first set win and many would have thought the match was over with three match points at 5-4 in the second. Strangely, the set went into a tiebreak which Morgan lost 7-2 and meant Golding was the first Brit in the US Open final since Andy Murray in 2004. It wasn’t to be an all-British final though as Jiri Vesely crushed Kyle Edmund 6-4, 6-2 to reach the final without dropping a set in the whole tournament.

Final: Despite facing the number one seed, two rain delays and losing the first set, Oliver Golding managed to win his first junior title since 2009 by overcoming Jiri Vesely 5-7, 6-3, 6-4. Golding struggled to hold serve in the opening exchanges and saved numerous break points at 2-2 and 4-4 before Vesely took his tenth opportunity to claim the first set. At 5-4, the Brit did have four set point chances but failed to convert any. But he made up for it in the next set though by breaking the Czech early on and holding to force a decider. In a match of very little unforced errors, the pair couldn’t be separated until the seventh game of the third set when Golding made a decisive break to become the first Brit since Andy Murray to win the US Open boys’ crown.

 

German pair Robin Kern and Julian Lenz won the boys’ doubles after beating Maxim Dubarenco and Vladyslav Manafov 7-5, 6-4. The full drawsheets for the boys’ singles and boys’ doubles are available via the US Open website.

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Wimbledon Juniors 2011 – Boys’ Singles Round-Up

With 19 of the top 20 ranked juniors in the world competing, the Wimbledon boys’ singles event had an abundance of names to look out for in the future. 

World number one Jiri Vesely was looking to add to the Australian Open crown he won earlier this year whilst form players going into the tournament included Roland Garros finalist Mate Delic, Gerry Weber Junior Open winner Dominic Thiem and Britain’s own Liam Broady, title-winner at the AEGON Junior International.

Here is a round-up of how the tournament progressed:

Round 1: Several seeds dropped in the opening round including Austrian Patrick Ofner (12), Spain’s Andres Artunedo Martinavarr (14), Joao Pedro Sorgi (11) and but the biggest was third seed Hugo Dellien who lost in straight sets to Kaichi Uchida of Japan. There was great joy for home supporters with British seeds George Morgan, Liam Broady and Oliver Golding joining wildcards Joshua Ward-Hibbert, Oliver Hudson, Evan Hoyt and Kyle Edmund in the second round. The latter beat Sorgi 6-3, 6-3.

Round 2: Britain’s delight soon turned to despair in the next round with only Liam Broady making it to the last 16. The prospects didn’t look good for Broady either as top seed Jiri Vesely awaited in the third round. Fourth seed Oliver Golding’s exit to wildcard Jason Kubler proved to be the biggest casualty of the day but more seeds lost including Spain’s Roberto Carballes Baena (6), Australian Andrew Whittington (9) and Philippine Jeson Patrombon (13). Hassan Ndayishimiye, the first player from Burundi to play at the Championships, also went out.

Round 3: Only three seeds made it into the last eight and that didn’t include the top two seeds. Czech and junior world number one Jiri Vesely succumbed to Liam Broady 6-4, 7-5 and Brazil’s Thiago Moura Monteiro was defeated in the other half of the draw by Aussie 16th seed Luke Saville. Germany’s Robin Kern, who beat Andrew Whittington the previous round, continued his giant-killing exploits by taking out Filip Horansky (5) while seventh seed Dominic Thiem lost to Belgian Julien Cagnina 6-4, 6-2.

Quarter-finals: Liam Broady won a titanic last set against Robert Kern 13-11 to keep British hopes alive. Kaichi Uchida made it to the last eight and progressed further thanks to another struggle. The unseeded Japanese found himself a set down to eighth seed Mate Pavic but won a second set tiebreak 9-7 before taking the third 10-8. He joined the two Australians of Luke Saville and wildcard Jason Kubler in the semis after their wins over Joris De Loore and Julien Cagnina respectively.

Semi-finals: Liam Broady faced wildcard Jason Kubler, the man who took out his compatriot Oliver Golding but he was given the chance of becoming the first British winner of the Wimbledon boys’ singles since Stanley Matthews in 1962 after coming through 6-4, 6-3 in 79 minutes. His opponent in the final would be Luke Saville, who had also been to the final of his home major the Australian Open where he lost to Jiri Vesely. Saville beat Kaichi Uchida 6-4, 6-1 and recorded 31 to seven and never gave his opponent a break point opportunity.

Final: Liam Broady (15) vs. Luke Saville (16). British hearts were crushed as Saville emerged victorious despite being outplayed in the first set and almost getting blown away in the second. Broady was serving 6-2, 4-3 up before being broken and never won another game in the set. An incredible point panned out in the third set but with Broady failing to break back after going down 3-1 early on there was no way back and Britain’s hopes of a homegrown winner in Wimbledon’s 125th year were dashed.

 

To see the full list of results then a drawsheet is available via the official Wimbledon website.

Naomi calls it a day

Naomi Cavaday serving Today I awoke to the news Britain’s Naomi Cavaday has retired from professional tennis. It came as quite a shock but evenmore so when discovering her age.

At 22 it’s a vastly premature end to her career which only last year saw her reach a peak of 174th in the world. Having not played at all this year her current position of 231 isn’t too bad either for the British number five.

In an LTA announcement she doesn’t cite a specific reason for her retirement but revealed she’s been suffering from depression as well as an eating disorder.

Despite saying she’s ‘worked through and overcome these issues’ there must be some lingering effects or her announcement wouldn’t have been made, so it’s a huge shame these problems have halted her progression.

Her greatest moments came at Wimbledon, like so many other British players. The wildcard entries the young and inexperienced players receive every year are often the only times they ever have the affection and attention of their fellow Brits.

But they frequently fall in the first round to heavy tournament favourites and this was the fate of Cavaday in 2006, 2007 and 2008. Her loss to Martina Hingis is 2007 will be particularly haunting after holding two match points.

Her decision to reject a wildcard entry last year is admirable but somewhat daft. The likes of Elena Baltacha and Anne Keothavong only reached the top 100 in their mid-20’s and would have used their annual Wimbledon first round match as a springboard to get there.

However, Cavaday’s frustration is understandable. To have only one real match a year where people have their eye on you must feel unjust.

And even if you win, like in the case of Sarah Borwell, you can quickly be forgotten once the second round demolition has taken place.

The truth is if you’re not a touted prodigy like Heather Watson or Laura Robson then when June comes around it is your only highlight of the tour, if not your career.

The likes of Melanie South, Georgie Gent and Katie O’Brien along with male players Alex Bogdanovic and James Ward will testify that.

Baltacha and Keothavong are exceptions but it’s sad that we will never find out if Cavaday would have joined her fellow compatriots in making the top 100.

Britain’s Rising ‘Sons’

Britain’s tennis history has a bad reputation. Constantly the press remind us it’s been x amount of years since Fred Perry became the last man to win a major title with that number currently standing at 75.

Although not as bad as the males, it doesn’t make for better reading when you look at the women’s game either. If you take a journey back through the decades you’ll find the likes of Virginia Wade and Sue Barker winning Grand Slam titles in the late 1970’s.

Now their great achievements are limited to mere captions on Wimbledon’s annual summer coverage.

Having not enjoyed any success in the womens’ singles for more than 40 years now there seems to be more of a desire to have a top ranked British female to support alongside Andy Murray.

Not since Annabel Croft has a female star emerged from the UK and even she quit the sport at the age of 21 despite winning both the Wimbledon and Australian Open juniors in 1984.

Instead Britain’s female tennis players are in effect long distant relatives. Whilst you may only see your great aunt on birthdays or at Christmas the British public only see the likes of Katie O’Brien and Melanie South once a summer as a wildcard entry into the first round of Wimbledon.

Once amongst those wildcards were Elena Baltacha and Anne Keothavong who have now gallantly broken into the top 100 but have a combined age of 54. Though they may have four or so more years competing at high levels on the WTA tour, the chances of them holding down a top 20 place or going on a great run at a Grand Slam are dwindling every year.

The hopes of the success-starved nation rests instead with Laura Robson and Heather Watson – the prodigal “sons” so to speak.

Since winning the Wimbledon girls’ singles title as a 14-year-old much has been expected of Melbourne-born Robson. Despite her 239 world ranking she is seen as Britain’s finest hope of repeating those 2008 scenes on the senior tour.

Watson, the third best female tennis player in Britain aged just 18, sits 108 places higher than her fellow Brit. In 2009 she won the US Open juniors which you may not know much about due to the media spotlight surrounding the potential future pin-up girl Robson.

Neither has yet won a WTA title but at the moment it’s a matter of amassing ranking points via qualification rounds and a few runs on the bigger stage.

Robson missed out on the 2011 Australian Open’s qualifying event due to injury which has also seen her position in the world rankings fall. This year she’s based in Paris with a new coach in Patrick Mouratoglou who’s seen previous success guiding Marcos Baghdatis and Aravane Rezai into top 20 players.

Whilst Robson will probably take a few months to break through properly, Watson is pretty close already.

Quarter-final runs in the Auckland Classic and Cellular South Cup this year have given her valuable experience against quality opposition and the environment of larger courts and crowds.

Should the pair’s progression continue at its current rate this year’s Wimbledon audience might be introduced something to shout about for many summers and tournaments to come.

33 Girls' Singles - Finals
Laura Robson (left) is all smiles after defeating Noppawan Lertcheewakarn in the 2008 Wimbledon girls’ singles final

Heather Watson
Heather Watson at the 2009 US Open juniors final where she beat Yana Buchina 6-4, 6-1

You can follow the fortunes and thoughts of both Laura and Heather on Twitter but be sure to check back to Ace of Baseline for the latest news on the young duo.

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