Photo: Francesco PanunzioJonny O'Mara (GBR)
The 54th Trofeo Bonfiglio may be one of oldest of the ITF Grade A Junior events but day one of the 2013 tournament proved to full of surprises for some of the biggest names on the ITF Junior Circuit.
The boys’ draw saw a string of significant upsets as the slow, high-bouncing courts of Milan’s Tennis Club Milano Alberto Bonacossa found out those not used to playing on European red clay. Accomplished Americans Noah Rubin and Stefan Kozlov (seeded 13th and 9th respectively) both fell victim to lesser ranked opponents in the first round, with Rubin losing to Andrey Rublev of Russia and Kozlov edged out in three sets by Jonny O’Mara of Great Britain.
The biggest name to fall, however, was Belgian Clement Geens, whose seeding of five offered him little protection against the clay-court prowess of Tunisia’s Skander Mansouri. Given the trend for upsets, eighth seed Yoshihito Nishioka (JPN) and seventh seed Elias Ymer (SWE) did well to dig in during two fiercely contested opening matches. Nishioka needed three sets to outlast talented young Australian Harry Bourchier and Ymer required two tiebreaks and all the experience he has gained competing on the ITF Junior and Pro Circuits before beating local favourite Matteo Donati of Italy 76(3) 76(5).
Nikola Milojevic (SRB), currently ranked No.3 on the ITF Junior Rankings, is top seed in Milan and the 17-year-old rising star is scheduled to open his Trofeo Bonfiglio campaign on Tuesday. Milojevic has already won a clay-court title this month, having picked up the Grade 1 Mediterranea Avenir title in Casablanca. He is also on a personal winning streak at Grade A level, having won the Abierto Juvenil Mexicano at the start of the season. He did not play in March’s Copa Gerdau Grade A event.
Croatia Borna Coric is second seed and is scheduled to start his tournament when he takes on Great Britain’s Evan Hoyt in the first round.
In the girls' competition, top seed Antonia Lottner of Germany already has her campaign to win the 54th Trofeo Bonfiglio well and truly underway, thanks to an efficient 61 61 win over Chiara Grimm of Switzerland. Lottner now plays Alina Silich of Russia in round two after Silich knocked out Szabinia Szavikovics 64 62 in her opening match.
Seeded players Great Britain’s Katy Dunne, Paraguay’s Camila Giangreco Campiz and talented young American Christina Makarova all got their tournament off to an ideal start with straight sets wins. All three must be considered as contenders for the title won in Milan last year by Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic.
Second seed Belinda Bencic of Switzerland also falls into that category. The second seed will be up against Yan Wang of China when play gets underway in the bottom second of the girls’ draw.
The 54th Trofeo Bonfiglio is one of five Grade A events played through the season, a strata of prestigious tournaments that is just one step below the Junior Grand Slam tournaments. It acts as the traditional curtain-raiser for Junior Roland Garros, which starts in just over two weeks’ time.