2014/09/17

On Court 17 Youth is Served and Gets Served On Day 2 of the US Open Qualies

 

Setfan Kozlov, USTA International Spring Championships, Carson, CA

Setfan Kozlov, USTA International Spring Championships, Carson, CA

(August 20, 2014) Court 17, played host to a combination of veterans, college players and juniors on day two of the US Open qualifying tournament on Wednesday.

The day led off with a three-set women’s battle between former world No. 29, Poland’s Urszula Radwanska and last year’s Australian and US Open junior champion, Ana Konjuh of Croatia.

The younger sister of Agniezska Radwanska rocketed to a 6-1 first set, but the 16-year old Konjuh rebounded in the second set which consisted of mostly service breaks between to the two women.

The match took a turn the youngster’s way when the Croatian jumped out to a 3-0 lead to start off the third set. Unforced errors, which Konjuh fell victim to throughout the match crept back into her game and Radwanska won six out of the next seven games to claim the set and the match 6-1, 4-6, 6-4. Konjuh made 52 unforced errors in the match.

Second match on the fourth largest show court in Flushing Meadow saw 16-year-old junior Stefan Kozlov face off against former University of Virginia player Mitchell Frank. After a slow beginning from the two-time junior Grand Slam finalist, who lost the opening set 6-3, the match turned. Koslov took the next set 6-0. Frank had a medical time out for a trainer to work on his back. His movement appeared hampered and Koslov finished off his opponent by claiming the third set 6-2.

The third match on Court 17 saw former US Open quarterfinalist from 2009 and Mixed doubles champion from 2011, American Melanie Oudin play Sesil Karatantcheva, born in Bulgaria, but now representing Kazakhstan. The 22-year-old Oudin needed just 70 minutes to stop the 25-year-old, breaking her serve five times.

To round-up the evening, American junior 16-year-old Francis Tiafoe fell to No. 11 seed Tatsuma Ito in a two hour and 22 minute contest 7-6(6), 4-6, 6-3.

Related article:

A Q & A with No. 1 US Junior Tennis Player Stefan Kozlov

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Serena Williams and Li Na Move into Australian Open Third Round

SerenaWilliamsFaceoff11

(January 15, 2014) Serena Williams upped her record at the Australian Open to 60-8, equaling 11-time winner Margaret Court’s 60 match wins in the Open Era at the Australian Open with a drubbing of Vesna Dolonc 6-1, 6-2 in 63 minutes.

Williams put up 10 aces and 24 winners in the victory over the No. 104th player in the world under the 104F heat. The 17-time major winner wanted to make the match as short as possible.

“I think it was tough conditions out there,” Williams said.  “I think it keeps getting hotter.  Every day is really hot.

“So it wasn’t the plan, but it just so happened like that.”

“I thought about it, but it definitely was not in my game plan.  So it wasn’t really something that I was trying to do, is to go for winners.

“I just try to hit a bunch of aces and a bunch of winners – that’s all you can do because it’s too hot to get into long rallies,” she said.

Williams get the winner of Karolina Pliskova or Daniela Hantuchova next in the third round.

Fourth-seeded Li Na  took another teenager to school on Wednesday defeating 16-year-old Belinda Bencic, 6-0, 7-6(5). Li’s first-round win was over the youngest player in the tournament teen Ana Konjuh,

“She played exactly like Martina Hingis, I feel,” Li said.  “Yeah, it’s very tough to play a decent player I never see before, because I cannot get any information.

“When comes to the court, it’s like, Okay, is similar like first round.  It’s like, Okay.  Yeah, I think today she give me very tough time end of the second set.

“But I was really happy in the end I can use my experience to win the match.”

The almost 32-year-old Li yielded a mere 10 points in the 22 minute first set.

“I think in the first set it was quite a lesson, but in the second set I played better and I tried to be more aggressive,” Bencic said.

She’ll face No. 26 Lucie Safarova in the third round.

One upset on the women’s side so far on Wednesday – 2013 Wimbledon finalist Sabine Lisicki, the 15th seed fell to Monica Niculescu  2-6, 6-2, 6-2.

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Kyrgios and Konjuh Win Australian Open Junior Singles Titles

 

By Jaclyn Stacey

(January 26, 2013) MELBOURNE PARK, Australia – Nick Kyrgios has been crowned the 2013 Australian Open Junior Boys’ champion after overpowering good friend and fellow Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis 7-6(4) 6-3 in one hour and 31 minutes on Saturday afternoon at Melbourne Park.

 

“Yeah, obviously I’m really happy with that performance today. I knew that I had to play some really good tennis,” Kyrgios said. “So, yeah, it’s great start on the year.”

 

The two mixed up their play, hitting largely from the baseline but also willing to try a drop shot and come into the net to volley. Both played a largely aggressive offensive game with big groundstroke shotmaking.

 

It was a tight contest in the first set with neither player able to gain an advantage. Kokkinakis had several break point opportunities late in the set but Kyrgios was able to effectively shut them down with his big serve. The set culminated in a tie-break situation as neither player was able to get a lead. Kyrgios got the mini-break in the first point of the tie-break and ran with it, closing out the first set 7-6(4).

 

Kyrgios converted a break point opportunity in the fourth game of the second set to go ahead a set and a break 3-1 against his good friend. Kokkinakis was struggling with a back problem during the match and it looked to be getting to him as time wore on. Kyrgios then picked up his serve in his final game to win the tournament with an ace 7-6(4) 6-3 in the same week he became the ITF world number one junior. He produced 36 winners to Kokkinakis’ 20.

 

Kyrgios said the key to winning today had been to maintain composure and not get caught in the moment. He explained his thoughts on being down break points and set points in the first set: “I was just trying to stay as composed as I could and take my time. I thought I played the big points

well. I didn’t really get angry at myself leading into that point or anything like that.”

 

Kyrgios was asked what he will do to ensure he doesn’t fade into oblivion as many former Junior Australian Open champions have done in the past.

 

“Obviously going to keep working hard, day in, day out. That’s what it’s all about. Keep improving on and of the court. I’m going to try and play a lot more futures and challengers and boost my ATP ranking up as well.”

 

“Obviously I’m going to take a lot of confidence out of this. Still a long way to go, it’s a long journey, anything can happen, but right now I’m really happy. I’m just going to keep working hard.”

 

In the girl’s singles final Croatian number three seed Ana Konjuh signalled herself as a future star in women’s tennis after defeating Czech number two seed Katerina Siniakova 6-3 6-4 in just over one hour.

 

“Well, you know, I feel really great. I won doubles and singles. I’m first time here. Just the feeling is incredible.”

 

Konjuh also won the girls’ doubles title on Friday with Canadian Carol Zhao to cap off an impressive tournament for the young Croatian. The win in the singles will move Konjuh to the top of the ITF Junior rankings from Monday.

 

Konjuh says she’s happy to be the world number one but says her focus for 2013 will be to improve her WTA ranking.

 

“I’m going to play the junior Grand Slams: Roland Garros, Wimbledon, US Open. I’m just going to play 10,000’s, 25’s and 50’s. I just want to go now for WTA ranking.”

 

Konjuh has also been selected to represent Croatia in Fed Cup for the first time and will play alongside Petra Martic, Donna Vekic and Tereza Mrdeza.

 

“No, it’s another great experience. I’m going to get a chance to play with some pro players. I just happy to be there.”

 

Jaclyn Stacey is a Melbourne based freelance journalist covering the Australian Open tournament as media for Tennis Panorama News.  Follow her Australian Open updates on @TennisNewsTPN. Follow her personal twitter @JackattackAU.

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Kyrgios and Kokkinakis set up All-Aussie Junior Boys’ Final at the Australian Open

 

By Jaclyn Stacey

 

(January 25, 2013) MELBOURNE PARK, Australia – Newly crowned ITF Junior Boys’ world No. 1 Nick Kyrgios stormed into the Australian Open Junior Boys’ final after dominating eighth seed Filippo Baldi 6-2, 6-1 in just 41 minutes on Friday.

 

“Obviously I’m really stoked with that performance today, I knew Baldi has been playing some pretty good tennis to make it to the semifinal and I knew I had to stick to my game plan,” Kyrgios said. “I like to come out strong, show a bit of fire in the first couple of games, show them that I’m there and that I’m going be tough to beat.”

 

Kyrgios was devastating in the win, sending down 9 aces and winning 75% of first serves in play against the Italian. The 17-year-old Australian will play compatriot Thanasi Kokkinakis in the first All-Australian junior final since Ben Ellwood defeated Andrew Ilie in the 1994.

 

The unseeded Kokkinakis defeated eleventh seed Borna Coric 6-3, 6-2 in just over one hour and the win caps off an unforgettable summer for the Adelaide teen. Kokkinakis was in Perth for the Hopman Cup as a reserve for Bernard Tomic but found himself as a substitute for the injured John Isner in the US team who took on Spain in their round robin contest. Kokkinakis came within three points of taking a set off Fernando Verdasco and also teamed with Venus Williams in the mixed doubles.

 

Kyrgios and Kokkinakis know each others’ games well and consider themselves good friends. They also teamed up to play the Australian Open Junior Doubles competition where they lost in the quarterfinals. Most recently they squared off in the National 18 and under championships final at Melbourne Park in December with Kyrgios the victor in a tight three set match.

 

In the Girls’ singles, second seed Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic defeated Estonian tenth seed Anett Kontaveit in straight sets 6-2, 6-3 in just under one hour. The Czech will meet the third seed Ana Konjuh of Croatia in the final who overcame a resurgent Elizaveta Kulichkova in a three set battle 6-2, 3-6, 6-1.

 

The Boys’ and Girls’ doubles champions were also decided on Friday with the Australian combo of Jay Andrijic and Bradley Mousley triumphant 6-3 7-6(3) over the German/Austrian pairing of Maximilian Marterer and Lucas Miedler in the Boy’s competition. In the girls’ competition singles finalist Ana Konjuh partnered with Canadian Carol Zhao to defeat the Ukrainian/Czech pairing of Oleksandra Korashvili and Barbora Krejcikova 5-7, 6-3, (10-7)

 

Jaclyn Stacey is a Melbourne based freelance journalist covering the Australian Open tournament as media for Tennis Panorama News.  Follow her Australian Open updates on @TennisNewsTPN. Follow her personal twitter @JackattackAU.

 

 

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