Photo: Corinne DubreuilKaterina Siniakova (CZE)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA: Katerina Siniakova is 16, has two coaches and her own website and is two steps on the road to winning her first grand slam title. The Czech cruised into the third round of the girls’ singles at the Australian Open on Tuesday with a confident 60 62 win over Australia’s Olivia Tjandramulia.
Second seed Siniakova is the favourite for the title, having reached the final of the Orange Bowl at the end of in 2012 and finished No 2 in the rankings behind American Taylor Townsend.
Though the likes of Croatia’s Ana Konjuh, who beat her in the Orange Bowl final, is sure to be a threat but having struggled in her opening round, Sianakova was right on top form as she brushed aside the home challenge.
“It was great today,” Siniakova said. “I played the warm-up (Grade 1) tournament in Traralgon last week, to get used to the weather and everything. I was quite feeling good after that and I wasn’t nervous here.”
The Czech Republic has produced so many good players over the years that every promising junior that shows their face is often burdened with expectation. But Siniakova said having the likes of Petra Kvitova and Lucie Safarova around as role models meant the pressure was not so difficult to cope with.
It’s pretty good because in the Czech Republic, Kvitova has done so much and she (and Safarova) have given everyone more confidence,” she said. “I am glad that I am from the Czech Republic. Last year, it was really great when we won Fed Cup and Davis Cup.”
Like Konjuh and many of the other leading girls, Siniakova is planning to play only the junior grand slams this year, moving up to play on the ITF Womens Circuit and WTA Tour at the first opportunity they have.
“Every match is important and I am fighting to the end,” she said. “I want to play my best and of course I want to win this tournament but I can’t say it’s (the only) important thing) for me. Every match is important but when I start to play WTA tournaments it will be even more important.”
Siniakova will now play Adrijana Lekaj, one of two Croatians through to the last 16. Lekaj, playing just her second grand slam, came from behind to beat Ivana Jorovic 26 63 64.
Fifth seed Ching-Wen Hsu of Taipei also had to recover from a slow start as she beat Klaartje Liebens of Belgium, running away with the last two sets for a 46 61 60 win. Katy Dunne, the 13th seed and the only Briton left in either junior event, beat Hong Kong’s Katherine Ip 64 64.
The only seed to fall in the girls’ event was Brazil’s Beatriz Haddad Maia, who was upended by Ipek Soylu of Turkey 64 64.
In the boys’ event, second seed Gianluigi Quinzi continued his impressive progress with a 62 64 win over Young Seok Kim of Korea while the Australian pair of No 3 seed Nick Kyrgios and unseeded Thanasi Kokkinakis both recorded victories.
Krygios took out New Zealand’s Cameron Norrie 63 61 while Kokkinakis came through a tough battle with Czech Robin Stanek 26 64 63. Kokkinakis will now play Enzo Couacaud of France for a place in the quarter-finals.
No 16 seed Hugo Di Feo of Canada saw off PetrosChrysochos of Cyprus 67 76 62 but 10th seed Maximilian Marterer of Germany was beaten 64 64 by Croatia’s Franko Miocic. Australia’s Omar Jasika also advanced to the last 16 and will face countryman Nick Kyrgios on Show Court 2 tomorrow.