Saturday, July 3, 2021

Wimbledon Junior Draws Released with Jimenez Kasintseva, Shang Top Seeds; Teens Gauff, Raducanu Reach Wimbledon Second Week; Semis, Finals Scheduled for Sunday at Weston Pro Circuit $15K

Wimbledon draw boards, photo credit: AELTC/Jon Super

In all the years I've covered the Junior Championships at Wimbledon, the tournament has started on Saturday, but this year it's Monday. The official timeline that the tournament provided a couple of weeks ago said the junior draws would be out Sunday evening, but they were released today, before the qualifying has been completed.

The order of play for Monday is also out now, with 20 of the 32 girls first round matches on the schedule and 19 0f the 32 boys first round matches set for Monday. All of the qualifiers, who will be decided Sunday at Roehampton, will not start until Tuesday, when the remainder of the first round matches will be played. I will post the Monday matches featuring Americans on Sunday.

Three Americans advanced to the final round of Wimbledon junior qualifying today.  Clervie Ngounoue[12] defeated wild card Sofia Johnson of Great Britain 6-1, 6-2, Braden Shick[12] beat Yamato Sueoka of Japan 6-3, 6-4 and Benjamin Kittay defeated No. 15 seed Luka Mikrut of Croatia 4-6, 7-5, 10-7.

The top seeds in the Wimbledon Junior Championships are the same as in the J1 this week in Roehampton: Victoria Jimenez Kasintseva of Andorra and Juncheng Jerry Shang of China. Shang lost in the Roehampton semifinals today, to No. 7 seed Daniel Rincon of Spain 6-3, 6-0. Rincon will face No. 8 seed Jack Pinnington Jones of Great Britain, who defeated No. 12 seed Jerome Kym of Switzerland 7-6(6), 6-4. None of the doubles or the girls singles semifinal results have been posted, but Jimenez Kasintseva is on Monday's Wimbledon schedule, so I'm thinking she may have lost today.

There are always many story lines in the first week of Wimbledon, while in the second week, the narrative tends to revert to the usual contenders (that certainly didn't happen this year at the French, however). One of the best stories of the first week at Wimbledon this year will now spill over into the second, with 18-year-old wild card Emma Raducanu becoming the youngest British woman to reach in the fourth round in the Open era when she defeated Sorana Cirstea of Romania 6-3, 7-5 today on Court One.

Raducanu, who had played very little in the past 18 months due to injury, school and the pandemic, was able to stay committed to her aggressive strategy, even when Cirstea fought back from 0-3, 0-40 in the second set to pull even. Raducanu could have wilted in the face of that comeback from the veteran, ranked nearly 300 spots above her, but she looked confident and focused as the crowd provided its support.

It was just two years ago that Coco Gauff, as a 15-year-old, made the fourth round as a qualifier. This year she returned as the No. 20 seed and again has made the second week, defeating Kaja Juvan of Slovenia 6-3, 6-3 in just over an hour today on Centre Court. 

For more on the two teenagers' victories today, see this article from the WTA website.

Taylor Fritz, the other American in the third round of singles today, lost to No. 4 seed Alexander Zverev 6-7(3), 6-4, 6-3, 7-6(4). Given that 27 days ago he was being taken from a French Open court in a wheelchair due to a knee injury, he can't be anything but reassured by his performance this week.

Wimbledon had its share of rain in the first week, including a short stoppage of play today, but it has been nothing like what has gone on at the $15,000 men's USTA Pro Circuit tournament in Weston Florida. As of Friday, there were first round matches still being played, match tiebreakers were implemented in lieu of third sets and I think doubles was abandoned entirely. Today, most of the singles round of 16 and the quarterfinals were played, with the semifinals and finals set for Sunday.  Kentucky sophomore Liam Draxl of Canada, a qualifier, advanced to the semifinals when No. 8 seed Strong Kirchheimer(Northwestern) retired trailing 6-3, 5-7, 3-1. Draxl will face No. 6 seed Gonzalo Villanueva of Argentina in the semifinals after Villanueva beat wild card Cannon Kingsley(Ohio State) 6-4, 6-7(4), 6-2 in three hours and 3 minutes. Unseeded Ryan Harrison will play No. 5 seed Stefan Kozlov in an all-American semifinal, after Kozlov defeated Christian Langmo(Miami) 6-2, 7-5 and Harrison beat Gerardo Lopez Villasenor(TCU) of Mexico 6-4, 6-1 in the quarterfinals.