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Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Loeb, Chirico, Townsend and Kozlov Reach Wimbledon Junior Quarterfinals; Top Boys Seed Kyrgios Ousted by Chung

After a relatively uneventful first three days at the Wimbledon Junior Championships, the surprises surfaced on Wednesday, with US juniors providing some of the fireworks a day before the 4th of July.

Both No. 3 seeds fell to Americans, with No. 15 seed Louisa Chirico defeating Katerina Sinaikova of the Czech Republic 4-6, 7-5, 6-4 and unseeded Stefan Kozlov advancing over Alexander Zverev of Germany 1-6, 6-4, 4-0 retired, injury.  No. 5 seed Taylor Townsend moved into the quarterfinals with a 6-3, 7-5 win over No. 11 seed Karin Kennel of Switzerland and unseeded Jamie Loeb closed out the day at the All England Club with a 6-7(5), 6-2, 6-3 win over Alice Matteucci of Italy.

Chirico, who lost in the first round last week in the Roehampton Grade 1, didn't have a good serving day against Siniakova, double faulting nine times and making only 43 percent of her first serves in the nearly two and a half hour match. But she hung in there, despite losing six games in a row after having a 4-2 lead in the opening set. Chirico had and lost another 4-2 lead in the second set, winning four games in a row after being down 2-0, but again she played through the rough spots. She couldn't serve out the set leading 5-4, but when she got a second chance at 6-5, she saved two break points and got back on even terms.

In the third set, Chirico again fell behind 2-0 and again won four games in a row, but this time she was able to hang on to that second break of serve. In her final two service games she held at love, and for the second consecutive junior slam, she has reached the quarterfinals.  On Thursday she will play No. 6 seed Elise Mertens of Belgium, who, after previously going 0-3 against No. 9 seed Carol Zhao of Canada, defeated her nemesis 6-3, 7-5 today.  Chirico beat Mertens in the semifinals of the Grade 1 in Belgium prior to the French juniors.

Townsend will play No. 4 seed Barbora Krejcikova of the Czech Republic in the quarterfinals, after Krejcikova came back to defeat No. 16 seed Ipek Soylu of Turkey 1-6, 6-3, 6-3. 

Loeb's survived ten aces from the unseeded Matteucci's racquet, but it was Loeb who served better as the match went on, facing only one break point in the final two sets and saving that. Matteucci struggled on most of her service games in the final set, and while Loeb only broke once, with Matteucci serving at 3-4, that was enough, and Loeb held at 15 to reach her first junior slam quarterfinal. 

The only unseeded player left in the girls draw, Loeb will play top seed Belinda Bencic of Switzerland Thursday. Bencic had a tough match with No. 13 seed Anett Kontaveit, but emerged with a 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 victory, her 33rd straight win the junior competition. Bencic defeated Loeb in the second round of last year's Orange Bowl 6-3, 6-3.

The other girls quarterfinal features No. 2 seed Ana Konjuh, who had a surprisingly easy 6-2, 6-3 victory over Beatriz Haddad Maia of Brazil, and No. 12 seed Anhelina Kalinina of Ukraine, who had to come from behind to beat unseeded Anastasia Komardina of Russia 3-6, 6-4, 6-1.  Although Konjuh and Kalinina haven't played in ITF junior competition, they did meet in the Eddie Herr 14s semifinals in 2011, with Kalinina winning 6-2, 6-2.

Top seed Nick Kyrgios was soundly beaten, in just 48 minutes, by unseeded Hyeon Chung of Korea 6-2, 6-2, although it did take Chung five match points to finish the upset.  Given his form coming into the tournament--he won Roehampton without the loss of a set--it was a surprising result, although his 27 unforced errors to Chung's four probably explains most of it.

Chung will play No. 8 seed Borna Coric of Croatia, a 6-4, 7-5 winner Wednesday over Filippo Baldi of Italy. Chung and Coric met in the round of 16 at the Australian Open this year with Coric winning that match 7-6(6), 6-4.

Another rematch will feature No. 6 seed Gianluigi Quinzi of Italy against No. 2 seed Nikola Milojevic of Serbia, who also met in the quarterfinals, with the same seedings, at the French just three weeks ago. Milojevic won that match 7-6(2), 6-2. 

The second Serb in the quarterfinals is No. 4 seed Laslo Djere, who came back from a set down for the second match in a row, beating Australian wild card Thanasi Kokkinakis 3-6, 6-2, 6-0.  He will play unseeded Maximilian Marterer of Germany, who advanced when No. 7 seed and French boys champion Christian Garin of Chile retired down 6-3, 3-2. 

Kozlov benefited from Zverev's retirement, but he was firmly in control of the match when the 16-year-old French Open boys finalist retired.  After a quick first set, Kozlov dug in and had won six straight games when Zverev retired with a shoulder injury. Back in 2011, in the semifinals of the Junior Orange Bowl 14s, Kozlov had beaten Zverev 6-1, 6-1, a match he mentions in the ITF Junior website's article on Wednesday's action.

Kozlov will play No. 5 seed Kyle Edmund of Great Britain in the quarterfinals, and with an age difference of three years, it's not surprising that they will be meeting for the first time on Thursday. The BBC is covering Edmund's progress in the juniors closely, so for more on his 6-3, 6-2 win over qualifier Jonny O'Mara, also of Great Britain, click here.

The first round of doubles was completed, with neither Zverev or Garin participating after their retirements in singles.  Luca Corinteli and Lucas Gomez of Mexico advanced to the second round, where they will meet No. 6 seeds Noah Rubin and Clement Geens of Belgium.  Martin Redlicki, playing with Djere, also advanced to the second round.  Loeb is the only US girls remaining in doubles, after she and University of Georgia's Ayaka Okuno of Japan advanced to the second round yesterday.

For complete draws, see the Wimbledon website.


work-hard-tennis said...

Just FYI, while Ayaka Okuno is officially from Japan, she has lived in California since the age of 5. She is like Maria Sharapova in that regard--speaks and acts completely like she is from the U.S. She is an American teenager, for all intensive purposes. Very nice girl.

russ said...

Just watched Kozlov win the first set against Edmund. Mighty impressive. Hardly any unforced errors, a lot variety in his shotmaking, changes pace and direction effortlessly, moves the ball around the court really well, has a sneaky serve that lets him dictate, remarkable maturity that allowed him to come back from 15-40 when he was serving for set. I think his coach is nicolas todero. Score one for the usta.

Edmund came back strong in the second as he started hitting the ball like he did against Gilles Simon. Guess he was nervous as his power is now bullying Kozlov.

Kozlov now has to elevate his game. Too bad I can't watch it.