06 Sep 2013

German duo into semifinals at Flushing Meadows

News Article

By Sandra Harwitt

Alexander Zverev (GER) at the Junior US Open

Alexander Zverev and Antonia Lottner are both teenagers from Germany, internationally recognized junior tennis players, and also bff’s, that’s best friends forever, in case you don’t know the lingo. 

On Friday, the two friends kept tabs on each other as they worked their way into the semifinals of the U.S. Open junior competition on Friday.

So how do they describe their friendship? Here’s what the two friends, who were both also finalists at Roland Garros this year, have to say about each other.

“Antonia Lottner, I’m best friends with her,” said the 16-year-old Zverev. “I was happy that she also won today. I’ve known her since we were 12, 13. When we see each other we hang out a lot.”

“It’s always good that two Germans are in the semifinals,” said the 17-year-old Lottner.  “Now we’re really good friends and we started to talk more in Australia and support each other. He’s really cool. I’m glad we’re good friends. We hang in the hotel and we went to Times Square together.”

The top-seeded Zverev defeated American wildcard recipient Collin Altamirano 64 64 to score a semifinal outing, and a first ever match, against fourth-seeded Borna Coric of Croatia. Coric ended the run of unseeded Quentin Halys of France 63 61 in another quarterfinal boys’ match.

“I played well and better than my last couple of matches,” Zverev said. “Now I’m getting more and more comfortable.”

The seventh-seeded Lottner had a grand quarterfinal in which she upset top-seeded Belinda Bencic of Switzerland 64 62, ending Bencic’s successful run of winning back-to-back junior girls’ title at Roland Garros and Wimbledon.

“I’m really happy because she’s No. 1 and has two Grand Slams, and she has a lot of confidence,” Lottner said. “I played really good. It was one of my best matches and I’m just really happy that I beat her.”

Lottner, who lost to Bencic in the Roland Garros final, was looking ready to repeat that performance when she fell behind 4-1 in the first set. But she pulled herself together, recouped the service break in the seventh game, broke again in the ninth game, and then owned the first set.

In the second set, Bencic surrendered the first service game, which went 18 points, which put Lottner permanently ahead. Another service break in the seventh game was just a bonus for the German.

Next up for Lottner, who also reached the U.S. Open semifinal last year, is surprise semifinalist Tornado Alicia Black, a 15-year-old American who was given a wildcard into the junior draw.

Black took a 76(3) 64 win over Iryna Shymanovic of Belarus in the quarterfinals. This is Black’s second Grand Slam event as she reached the second round here as a qualifier last year.

“This is my second U.S. Open and I want to get far and I want a trophy, so I want to do my best,” said Black, explaining why she’s playing so well here.

In the other girls’ semifinal, second-seeded Ana Konjuh of Croatia will play 11th-seeded Mayo Hibi of Japan, who has grown up here in the United States.

Konjuh ended the hopes of New York’s hometown girl, 10th-seeded Louisa Chirico 63 62 in the quarterfinals.

Hibi fell behind 5-1 in the second set, but rebounded to oust third-seeded Katerina Siniakova of Czech Republic 62 75.

In other boys’ quarterfinal action, unseeded Thanasi Kokkinakis of Australia, a finalist at the Australian Open this year, upset second-seeded Gianluigi Quinzi of Italy in a tough 36 62 62 battle.

Kokkinakis will play third-seeded Christian Garin of Chile in the semifinals. Garin, a serve-and-volleying capable Chilean defeated sixth-seeded Johan Sebastien Tatlot of France 64 76(7) in the other quarterfinal.