Rafael Nadal isn't the only No. 1 to, as the British say, "crash out" of the French Open Sunday, although the Spaniard was certainly the more surprising one. Boys No. 1 seed Liang-Chi Huang of Chinese Taipei lost to Richard Becker of Germany in three sets in the opening round of the French Open Junior Championships. It was deja vu for Huang, who also drew Becker in the opening round of the Australian Juniors in January, and also won the first set before dropping the final two. Most of Huang's points, which have earned him the No. 4 position in the junior world rankings, have been accumulated in Asia, so unlike Nadal, he was not a favorite to win in Paris, especially since he is still looking for his first single victory in a junior Grand Slam.
Another top junior still seeking a Slam victory is seventh seed Lauren Embree, who lost to 14-year-old Nastja Kolar of Slovenia 6-3, 7-6(5). The other two seeded U.S. junior girls won; qualifier Sloane Stephens (15) the Italian Open girls champion who has yet to lose a junior match in 2009, convincingly beat Quirine Lemoine of the Netherlands 6-1, 6-1 and Christina McHale (14) defeated qualifier Martina Trevisan of Italy 7-6(4), 6-2. Unseeded Beatrice Capra earned her first junior slam win with a 7-6(2), 6-3 decision over wild card Charlotte Rodier of France. Qualifier Mallory Burdette lost to Daria Gavrilova of Russia 6-3, 6-4.
Of the six U.S. boys seeing action today, four lost: NCAA champion Devin Britton to No. 11 seed Gianni Mina of France 6-0, 6-4, Evan King to Frederico Gaio of Italy 6-4, 6-4, qualifier Jordan Cox to Renzo Olivo of Argentina 6-3, 6-3, and Mitchell Frank to Filip Horansky of Slovakia 6-7(5), 6-4, 8-6. No. 13 seed Tennys Sandgren, who has been practicing with Rafael Nadal in Paris, defeated Stanislav Poplavskyy of Ukraine 6-0, 6-3 and Alex Domijan came back to take a 6-7(1), 6-1, 6-1 win over wild card Mick Lescure of France. Domijan will now take on No. 2 seed Bernard Tomic of Australia in a second round match on Monday. Tomic is the subject of this story from the ITF junior website. No. 7 seed Denis Kudla and Harry Fowler will play their first round matches on Monday. For complete draws, see RolandGarros.com.
Sunday, May 31, 2009