05 Jun 2017

Kecmanovic & Potapova Ready for ITF World Champions Dinner

News Article

By Sandra Harwitt

Photo: Susan MullaneAnastasia Potapova (RUS)

PARIS - Top seeds Miomir Kecmanovic of Serbia and Anastasia Potapova of Russia are into the Roland Garros juniors second-round after posting straight- sets victories on Monday morning.

The two teens, however, share more in common than their status as the top seeds this week.

On Tuesday night, Kecmanovic and Potapova will be feted at the annual ITF World Champions dinner at the Pavillon Cambon Capucines in Paris as the 2016 junior boys’ and girls’ champion, respectively.

Kecmanovic was happy to get through a 63 61 first-round win over Jaimee Floyd Angele of France considering he just arrived in Paris from Turkey at 1 a.m. on Monday morning.

“I think I played a very, very bad match from my part,” Kecmanovic said. “I was mostly pushing and just trying to put the balls in court today. It was very difficult to play and I had a whole six hours of sleep.”

Kecmanovic, who acknowledged he is playing Roland Garros because he was coming to Paris to receive his award, considers the top seed position a demanding responsibility.

“I definitely do feel the pressure, especially today,” he said. “But I think in the next rounds I won’t feel it as much. I only came here because I was going to the ITF dinner, so since I was here I might as well play this. I’m here just for myself and for fun.”

The 17-year-old Kecmanovic, who won two Grade A titles at the Abierto Juvenil Mexicano and Orange Bowl last year is awaiting the new experience of attending a black tie affair.

“I think it’s going to be a great experience for me and I can’t wait for tomorrow,” Kecmanovic said. “I bought a new suit, the first one I own. It’s black. The only time I went to a formal, it was a Davis Cup dinner I was invited to, but this is going to be much more special.”

Kecmanovic, whose lived in the USA for a number of years now with his aunt as his guardian, speaks English as a native, but does tend to miss the rest of his family in Belgrade.

“I can drive in the States and that’s the only thing that’s different to back home,” Kecmanovic said, smiling. “I have a Mercedes.”

Kecmanovic also revealed that later on Monday afternoon he had an appointment with a well-known Serbian, who also happens to be at Roland Garros.

“I’m hitting with Novak (Djokovic) at two, and that’s going to be fun,” Kecmanovic said. “This is going to be the third time (I hit with him). I hit with him at Wimbledon two years ago and the French Open two years ago.

“I was so nervous I couldn’t make a ball and that’s why he didn’t call me for the next two years,” he added. laughing.

The 16-year-old Potapova was overjoyed to post her first victory in three matches played against Kaja Juvan of Serbia on Monday. Potapova, who lost to Juvan twice last season - at a pro circuit match and in the Orange Bowl final - secured a 64 64 win over the Serbian on Monday.

“It was a pretty tough first round for me as I played her twice before and I lost to her twice,” Potapova said. “This was a pretty important match for my confidence that I got through it.

“I don’t have any goal here, like I want to win it. I just want to show my best tennis.”

Last year, Potapova won the Wimbledon junior girls’ trophy, which is the highlight of her junior career to date.

“What I remember is the crazy moment that I had all those seven match points,” Potapova said. “That week was pretty good for me and every day I got a positive experience there. Every day had a story.”

Like Kecmanovic, Potapova has a new outfit for the ITF Champions dinner and is looking forward to showing it off.

“I’m so excited to be there,” Potapova said. “I bought a dress for this dinner months ago in Miami. It’s long - I like long more than short. I bought it in Max Mara and it’s black-and-white.

“And I have amazing shoes, black and high.”

A number of the seeded junior competitors were playing second-round matches on Monday.

Key among them was reigning Australian Open champion and fourth seed Marta Kostyuk of Ukraine, who suffered an upset on the racket of Amina Anshba of Russia 36 76 (5) 63. Anshba showed nerves when serving for the match at 52 in the third and lost her serve, but recovered to break Kostyuk’s serve in the ninth game to move onto the third round.

In the girls’ draw, No. 11 Elena Rybakina of Russia moved onto the third round, but 13th seed Emily Appleton of Great Britain was also upset by Marta Paigina of Russia, who earned a third round position with a 61 62 win. .

Boys’ that moved into the third round include: No. 3 Alexei Popyrin of Australia, No. 4 Zsombor Piros of Hungary, No. 10 Oliver Crawford of USA, and No. 12 Jurij Rodionov of Austria.