With the scorching temperatures that had plagued Melbourne Park earlier in the week nowhere to be seen, the opening day of the Australian Open juniors’ was a pleasant one on Saturday.
It was a relatively straightforward day for many of the top seeds, with few upsets and handfuls of comprehensive victories.
In the boys’ event, Serbian top seed Nikola Milojevic got through his first round match against Jurence Zosimo Mendoza unscathed, winning 6-3 6-1. The 17-year-old, who reached No.1 in the ITF rankings only last week, is coming off a stunning 2012 and continued his strong form.
American 13th seed Mackenzie McDonald also won his first round match on Saturday despite dropping the opening set on Court 10. The 2012 Australian Open junior semifinalist downed Korean Duk-Young Kim 3-6 6-0 6-1. He will play Austria’s Lucas Miedler in the next round.
Fourteenth seed Yoshihito Nishioka of Japan was another seed who registered a comprehensive victory, downing Karen Khachanov of Russia 6-4 6-2. Nishioka will now play Australian Akira Santillan in the second round who is coming off an impressive 2012 campaign. Santillan won the Sydney Junior International in October last year and reached three more semifinals.
But, as is the nature of tennis, with expected wins came upsets as not all of the players tipped to advance had it easy. Fourth seed Laslo Djere of Serbia kicked off the day going down to Matej Marusak of Slovakia 4-6 7-6(7) 2-6. He was the only seed who failed to advance to the next round.
Meanwhile, the girls’ singles results mirrored that of the boys’, bar the upset, with every seed made it through to the second round during Saturday’s play
Third seed Ana Konjugh, sixth seed Carol Zhao, seventh seed Anna Danilina and 10th seed Anett Kontaveit all got through with relative ease as their Melbourne Park campaigns commenced.
It was a heartbreaking loss, however, for Australian wildcard Naiktha Bains who went down 8-10 in the third set against Ukranian qualifier Olga Fridman. While the first two sets were straightforward affairs – both resulting in 6-2 scores and neither going over 30 minutes – the deciding set turned out to be an hour-long epic, the Ukrainian doing enough to grab the win.
Finally, Australian wildcard Sara Tomic got her family off on the right foot in her match after downing Czech Gabriela Pantuckova 2-6 6-2 6-4. Tomic – whose brother Bernard takes on Roger Federer in a Rod Laver Arena showdown on Saturday night – overcame a 58 per cent first serve effort to advance.
She plays German fourth seed Antonia Lottner in the second round, who also won in three sets.