Second Seed Watson Out in First Round; Three Americans Advance at Australian Open Jr. Championships; Dabrowski Feature
The first round of singles at the Australian Open Junior Championships were played over two days and are just finishing now, which is Monday in Melbourne.
The biggest surprise of the opening rounds was the loss of US Open girls champion and No. 2 seed Heather Watson of Great Britain who was defeated by unseeded 15-year-old Hao Chen Tang of China 6-1, 4-6, 6-1. Watson spoke at length about her loss Saturday with Simon Cambers who is writing for the ITF junior website.
Three of the four U.S. players advanced, with No. 4 seed Mitchell Frank posting his first singles win at a Grand Slam on Sunday with a 6-2, 6-1 victory over Australian wild card Jay Andrijic. Nick Chappell lost to wild card Ben Wagland of Australia 6-3, 6-1. Like Frank, Madison Keys also earned her first Grand Slam victory Sunday, defeating one of the few Australians in the field not there by means of a wild card, Viktorija Rajicic, 6-3, 6-4. Ester Goldfeld avenged her second round Orange Bowl loss last month to China's Saisai Zheng, the No. 15 seed in Melbourne, taking Monday's contest 7-5, 2-6, 6-3. Zheng was one of five seeded girls to lose in the first round. In addition to Zheng and Watson, No. 8 seed Camila Silva of Chile, No. 13 seed Tamara Curovic of Serbia and No. 14 Ulrikke Eikeri of Norway were eliminated.
Unseeded Laura Robson had no difficulty advancing past wild card Belinda Woolcock of Australia, and she will continue to juggle her schedule to include girls singles and doubles, as well as women's doubles. Robson has dropped out of girls doubles. She was playing with Heather Watson. She and Australian Sally Peers have reached the women's doubles quarterfinals as wild cards.
Orange Bowl champion and No. 4 seed Gabriela Dabrowski of Canada recorded her first Grand Slam victory Monday, defeating Emi Mutaguchi of Japan 7-5, 6-4. Dabrowski and her family are the subject of this lengthy feature, entitled "All for love" in her hometown newspaper, the Ottawa Citizen.
The Australian boys have been very impressive in the opening round, with seven of the eight wild cards reaching the second round, as well as No. 3 seed Jason Kubler and Luke Saville, who received entry based on his ITF ranking. Qualifier Jarryd Chaplin gave top seed Daniel Berta of Sweden a real battle on Monday before finally succumbing 7-5, 2-6, 8-6.
Three seeded boys lost in the first round--No. 7 seed Kevin Krawietz of Germany, No. 12 seed Yasutaka Uchiyama of Japan and No. 15 seed Henri Laaksonen of Finland.
The doubles championships have begun, with Keys and Goldfeld playing together. Mitchell Frank and Finland's Micke Kontinen were seeded fifth, but they lost in the first round Monday to the Brazilian team of Tiago Fernandes and Bruno Semenzato. Nick Chappell is playing with Vladislav Dubinsky of Russia.
For complete draws, see the Australian Open website.