Photo: Susan Mullane Ricky Medinilla (MEX)
17-year-old Ricky Medinilla is one of a host of young Mexican players firing local interest in the Abierto Juvenil Mexicano this week. Medinilla is one of eight Mexicans in the draw and, along with Lucas Gomez, is one of the contenders for the title at the Club Deportivo Chapultepec.
Mexico has hosted Grade A events every year since 2003 and while the Abierto Juvenil Mexicano is a relatively new event - first held in 2011 - historically the Grade A events held Mexico have played host to some of the biggest names in professional tennis, including Janko Tipsarevic and Gisela Dulko. The Abierto Juvenil Mexicano certainly follows in that tradition and local interest is being boosted this week by Mexican players like Medinilla and Lucas Gomez excelling in front of their home crowd.
Day one of the tournament saw Gomez earn his place in the second round and he was joined there on Monday by Mexico City’s own Medinilla, but only after a compelling clay-court tussle with Australia’s Thomas Fancutt which saw the local player eventually prevail 36 76(1) 64. Medinilla’s win set up a second round meeting with Chile’s Sebastian Penaloza.
“It was a good win against a player who played well,” said Medinilla, speaking in his native Spanish to local media. “I am moving forward, was a set down and most importantly, I advanced to the second round. I think the match came down more to the mental strength. We were already both were very tired because the first two sets were very exhausting. I had to believe my character, and my efforts were rewarded. I play Penaloza now and I think I have a chance to get out with the win. "
In all, five Mexican boys will feature in the second round, with Andres Zepeda, Adrian Ortiz and Diego Omar Nunez taking up the other three spots. On the girls’ side, fifth seed Victoria Rodriguez, qualifier Eriem Arantza, 11th seed Alejandra Cisneros, Constanza Gorches, 14th seed Renata Zarazua, Regina Clark and Cassandra Vazquez represent a healthy quota of Mexican girls through to the second round, although Arantza and Cisneros and Zarazua and Clark, respectively, are due to play each other next.
Zarazua boasts a strong tennis background and is the neice of former Mexican Davis Cup by BNP Paribas hero Vincent Zarazua. She expects to improve which each match at the Club Deportivo Chapultepec. “I was nervous in my first match,” she said. “First rounds are always difficult, because you have to get used to the courts and playing in the altitude of Mexico City.”