Photo: Susan MullaneKimmer Coppejans (BEL)
The cream is rising to the top in the junior events at Roland Garros with just eight players still in contention for what would be their first grand slam titles.
After the exit of girls’ top seed Taylor Townsend on Wednesday, the boys’ No 1 went the same way 24 hours later as Luke Saville was upended 63 63 by Adam Pavlasek.
In testing conditions, the Czech coped better and his greater power saw him through to a semi-final against Canada’s Filip Peliwo, who took care of American Noah Rubin with the minimum of fuss 64 61. The other semi-final will be between sixth seed Kimmer Coppejans and Mitchell Kreuger, the No 8 seed from the United States.
Kreuger took out Max de Vroome of the Netherlands 62 61 while Coppejans was too strong for Britain’s Kyle Edmund, running out a 64 63 winner.
It is the first grand slam semi-final for Coppejans, an 18-year-old Belgian who said watching David Goffin reach the fourth round of the men’s event had been an inspiration. “It was just incredible,” he said. “He came in as a lucky loser and he played the most amazing tennis of his life so far. And he’s a great guy too. I only hear good things about him.”
With the finish line almost in sight, Coppejans said he was starting to dream about what it would be like to win his first grand slam crown. “I’ve never got so far so it’s awesome,” he said. “It’s only two wins away but they are still the most difficult wins, so I have to stay focused. Winning the tournament would be great.”
In the girls’ event, two Germans took another step closer to a final showdown. Antonia Lottner, who took out fourth seed Irina Khromacheva in round one, continued her strong progress with a 62 75 win over Clothilde de Bernardi of France. She’ll take on Anna Schmiedlova of Slovakia, who followed up her upset win over Townsend with a battling 76 36 61 victory over fifth seed Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic.
In the other half, second seed Annika Beck reached the last four without dropping a set after a 64 63 victory over ninth seed Chalena Scholl of the US. The 18-year-old will take on 12th seed Anna Kontaveit, a 60 63 victor over American 16th seed Alexandra Kiick.
Beck and Lottner are friends who train at the same academy in Germany and are staying in the same hotel in Paris. They have been going out for dinner together in the evenings and even practising together before matches.
One more win apiece and they will be clashing in the final but Beck said she was just trying to focus on herself and not worry about expectations as the highest-ranked player left in the draw.
“It would mean a lot to win because this is my last junior event,” Beck said. “I would be very happy if I can finish it with a title. So, no pressure!”
Estonia’s Kontaveit lost to Beck when they met in a WTA qualifying event earlier this year but said she believed she could go all the way this time.
“Of course it would be really nice to win one and I’ll try anything to do that,” she said. “It would be really sweet to win one.”