Photo: Hiromasa ManoNick Kyrgios (AUS)
Top seeded Australian Nick Kyrgios got his Osaka Mayor’s Cup World Super Junior Tennis Championships campaign off to the perfect start with a 63 63 win over local favourite Yusuke Takemote at the Grade A tournament in Japan on Monday.
Kyrgios faces a potentially more troublesome task in the second round when he takes on Germany’s Paul Woerner, who eased past Korea’s Pak-Long Yeung 62 63. Elsewhere in the boys’ draw, Kyrgios and Woerner were joined by ninth seed Johann-Sebastian Tatlot of France, Russia’s Anton Desyaknik (seeded sixth), Borna Coric of Croatia and Cameron Norrie of New Zealand, all of whom notched up opening day wins at the Utsubo Tennis Centre.
On paper at least, Kyrgios should face stiff competition for the title from fellow pre-tournament favourite and local hope Kaichi Uchida, among others. Uchida is seeded second in Osaka but currently ranked seventh on the ITF Junior Rankings and has already won the Grade 2 Uruguay Bowl during a successful 2012 season. He was also a semi-finalist at the US Open last month, losing to Great Britain’s Liam Broady at Flushing Meadows.
Kyrgios, meanwhile, has continued to impress at both ITF Junior and ITF Pro Circuit level as he makes the transition to the professional ranks and reached the semifinals in the Australia F10 Futures last week. He also won the Grade 1 Canadian Open this year and has played well in Japan in previous seasons and won the Dunlop Open Japan Closed Championships in Nagoya this time last year, as well as reaching the semi-finals in Osaka.
In the girls’ draw, top seed Katerina Siniakova of Czech Republic showed some promising early form in her 64 64 win over Japanese qualifier Yuiki Sano and, in doing so, set up a second round meeting with either local lucky loser Manae Miwa or Marika Akkerman of Canada.
Indy de Vroome of Netherlands is another player with designs on the title this week and, in an ominous sign for her competition, she has yet to drop a single game after notching up a 60 60 first round win over Japan’s Manami Tabata. Belgians Elise Mertens (seeded three) and Klaartje Liebens (seeded eighth) also scored wins, as did second seed Ching-wen Hsu of Chinese Tapei.
The opening day was not without its upsets in the girls’ draw, however. Promising Australian Naiktha Bains knocked out local favourite and 14th seed Kanami Tsuji 64 46 64 and Mineri Sukegawa (Japan) delivered an upset in front of her home crowd when she beat sixth seed Ipek Soylu of Turkey 64 76(3).