Photo: Susan MullaneAnett Kontaveit (EST)
For Anna Kontaveit and Antonio Lottner, the semi-final stage of a junior grand slam event is like a frontier; they may have been there before but they have never gone further.
Germany’s Lottner has been there once, at the French Open in June when tiredness got the better of her after going through qualifying, while Estonia’s Kontaveit has been there and done it twice, at both the French Open and Wimbledon this summer.
In opposite halves of the draw, it is possible that they could each fall short once more but on the form of this week, they will both be eyeing a place in their first final.
“Of course I want to get to the final and I’m going to do everything to win the match tomorrow,” said 12th seed Kontaveit, who upset top seed Taylor Townsend 64 64.
American Townsend beat Kontaveit on the way to winning her first grand slam title at the Australian Open in January but the Estonian turned the tables with a solid, consistent performance in hot and humid conditions at Flushing Meadows.
“I think I was more consistent today,” she said. “She played really well in Australia and won the grand slam but I’m excited to be in another semi-final.
“I learnt a lot from that semi-final match at Wimbledon. I have to be looser in the semi-finals and not think about it too much. It’s not that easy but I’m going to try. I was really nervous, especially to get in the Wimbledon Ball.”
Kontaveit will take on another American, Victoria Duval, for a place in the final after the 16-year-old, who played Kim Clijsters in the first round of the women’s event, beat Anna Danalina of Kazakhstan 63 36 62 to reach the last four.
“She’s a smart player so it’s going to be difficult," Kontaveit said of Duval. "I’m not going to do anything different to prepare for it. I’ll just rest and go back to the hotel, put my legs on the wall and just take it easy.”
Lottner, who only turned 16 last month, was a relative unknown when she made the Paris semis but will be favourite when she takes on another American, Samantha Crawford, in the last four.
“In Paris I played qualifying and no one knew me,” the German said. “This time I am fourth seed, it’s not pressure, but I want to win.”
Lottner said she had been working hard on her fitness in recent months and was now confident she could go toe to toe with any player. “It’s hard work but I enjoy it and I know it’s hard work, but I know it’s paying off on the court. That’s what I am thinking when I am doing it.”
Crawford advanced to the last four when her opponent, Yulia Putintseva pulled out before the match, under doctor’s orders because of a problem she had with her heart after back-to-back matches in the heat on the previous day.
“I think I have more experience now than my opponent,” Lottner said. “I know how it feels to be in the semis, I played a lot and I think it’s good for me. We played doubles against her. I think she plays really hard, she has a good serve and she’s tall. I think it’s going to be tough but I will give everything and fight to the last point.”
In the boys’ event there was a surprise defeat for top seed Kimmer Coppejans, the Belgian world number one, who went out 61 64 to Japan’s eighth seed Kaichi Uchida.
Coppejans had been hoping to add the US Open title to the French Open crown he won in June but was outplayed by the 18-year-old Uchida, who now plays Britain’s Liam Broady in the semi-finals.
Broady, the runner-up at Wimbledon in 2011, had played for almost four hours on Thursday to make it through to the last four but recovered to beat South Africa’s Wayne Montgomery 76 76.
The left-hander described his win on Twitter as “one of the mentally toughest matches I’ve played”. Montgomery served for the first set at 65 and led in the first-set tiebreak before Broady took it 8-6 and then snatched the second 74 to clinch victory.
The second semi-final will be between another Japanese, Yoshihito Nishioka and second seed Filip Peliwo. Nishioka upset Italy’s number three seed Gianluigi Quinzi of Italy 67 63 60 while Wimbledon champion Peliwo also came from behind to oust Australian Nick Kyrgios 26 63 64.