06 Sep 2017

Top two seeds bow out in New York

News Article

By Sandra Harwitt

Photo: Susan MullaneWhitney Osuigwe (USA)

It was a day of heavy-duty drama in the US Open junior girls’ competition as two favorites went down in the second round.

Moscow native Anastasia Kharitonova drew first blood on Tuesday morning when she upset top seed and reigning French Open champion Whitney Osuigwe of the USA 64 26 62.

The 17-year-old Kharitonova, playing Osuigwe for the first time, prefers hard courts and a faster style of play. She recorded eight aces in the match and won 72 percent of her first serve points.

At the start of the year, Kharitonova was ranked No. 224 and has now moved up to No. 29 in the world. Until this US Open, the Russian had never won a junior singles match at the two previous Grand Slams she played, which were this year’s Roland Garros and Wimbledon.

“I’m happy to be in the third round and this victory, I just don’t know what I can talk,” Kharitonova said. “It was a great match and so many emotions for me.”

Australian-born American Elysia Bolton upset second seed Marta Kostyuk of Ukraine, the reigning Australian Open champion, 76(4) 62 to create another stir in the draw.

Bolton’s parents are both from Sydney, Australia, but they moved to Chicago for her mother's job when she was quite young. Her younger sister, a native American, was born with a brain disease that prevents her from walking and is wheelchair bound.

The family took the decision that care for the disabled is better in the United States so decided to stay put. They now reside in Cold Spring Harbor, NY, a close drive to the home of the US Open where she trains full-time.

“I lost to her at the Eddie Herr so I kind of knew what to expect,” Bolton said. “I just know it (here) very well because I’m used to it. I think I competed really well and I didn’t really get down on myself in the match.”

Her father, a retired policeman who was a stay-at-home dad once the family moved to America, was in the crowd. Her mom had to go to work and her sister, an eighth-grader, had to go to school.

Bolton is a high school senior and is committed to attend the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) next year where Stella Sampras, sister of Pete, is the head coach.

On the college front, top seed Axel Geller of Argentina has already settled into Palo Alto, Calif., where his new life as a Stanford University freshman will commence later this month.

Geller bypassed American wildcard recipient Brandon Nakashima 75 64 to reach the third round in the boys’ draw on Tuesday.

“I’m happy how I reacted in the match because he started much better than me,’ Geller said. “He surprised me by breaking me early, but I managed to keep going.”

Geller believes his final showing at Wimbledon this year has assisted in his confidence.

“It always helps to remember how well I did there,” he said. “Not so much in confidence, but I learned how to handle moments better. Like today, I handled the bigger moments better than he did because I have more experience.”

Geller speaks impeccable English, which was facilitated by his attending a Scottish school in Buenos Aires, and his father, a banker with Credit Suisse who spends a great deal of time in the United States, always speaking English to him.

“It is good school doesn’t start till later so I don’t have to miss classes,” he said. “My dad always wanted me to go to a good school so I am going to Stanford. English is the universal language so it’s important.”

Geller, with permission, will take time away from school to compete in the prestigious year-end Junior Masters in Chengdu, China.

“Yeah, I’m going,” Geller said. “I already talked about it with my college coach. I hear it’s a great tournament from the guys who already have played it. And it brings opportunities with wildcards and things.”

American Cori Gauff, just 13 years old, offered up another upset when she scored a 64 64 win over fifth-seeded Carson Branstine of Canada. Gauff reached the Grade 1 final at College Park, Maryland the week before the US Open started.

Uisung Park of Korea and Menelaos Efstathiou of Cyprus, who are competing at the US Open as part of the 2017 International 18 & Under ITF/Grand Slam Development Fund team, also advanced to the third round.

Park upset sixth seed Yshai Oliel of Israel 57 64 60, while Efstathiou upset seventh seed Trent Bryde of the USA 64 62.