Photo: Susan MullaneFrederico Ferreira Silva (POR)
MEXICO CITY, MEXICO: Quarterfinals day at the Abierto Juvenil Mexicano brought with it a real surprise as top seed and last year’s runner-up Frederico Ferriera Silva was ousted by Japan’s Naoki Nakagawa 64 46 75. The victory must be seen as a major break-through for Nakagawa, seeded 12, who has only participated in one previous Grade A event, the Orange Bowl earlier in December.
Yesterday’s marathon match may have taken it’s toll on Silva, having had to battle through a three set thriller against Brazil’s Rafael Matos, however nothing can be taken away from Nakagawa who took his chances and was able to close out the match 75 in the third set.
The Japanese boy will have another major battle on his hands if he is to progress to his first major final, as tomorrow he will face Mexico’s Lucas Gomez. The overwhelming home favourite, Gomez had little trouble today in his match versus American Francis Tiafoe, winning 63 64 and the Mexican is yet to drop a set in the whole tournament.
In the bottom half of the boys draw results adhered to the form book with the second and fourth seeds successfully making in through to the semis. Nikola Milosevic saw off fifth seed Jorge Brian Panta Herreros 64 61 whilst Belgium’s Clement Geens, seeded three, came from a set down to overcome Martin Redlicki from America 46 63 75.
Order reigned in the girls’ draw with all four top seeds reaching the semifinals but there was disappointment for the home crowd with both remaining Mexicans ousted.
Fifth seeded Mexican Victoria Rodriguez faced third seed Elise Mertens from Belgium in the top half of the draw. Having lost the first set 36 the Mexican, who was doubles runner-up at the recent Orange Bowl, used the support of the crowd to help her to fight back in the second set, but to the disappointment of the home supporters just lost out in the second set 57.
Rodriguez’s compatriot, Alejandra Cisneros started out strongly in her match against fourth seed Karin Kennel taking the first set to a tie-break which she narrowly lost 67(6), however the Swiss girl proved too strong in the second set, taking the match 76(6) 63.
It could be an all Swiss final as top seed Belinda Bencic continued her impressive form in the top half of the draw, she had little trouble seeing off Russia’s Vavara Flink 63 60. However second seed Ching-Wen Hsu recovered from a slow start today in her match against America’s Marie Norris to recover and claim her semifinal spot 75 60.
All of the semifinal competitors will have plenty to play for at the Abierto Juvenil Mexicano, with the singles winners each being awarded 250 points towards their ITF Junior Rankings, with an additional 180 points on offer for the doubles winners. Finalists in singles and doubles will get 180 and 120 points respectively but perhaps the greatest benefit will be the timely boost to players’ confidence and reputation just before ITF Junior Circuit moves Down Under for the first Junior Grand Slam of the season, the Australian Open.