Photo: Susan MullaneNick Kyrgios (AUS)
They say that form is temporary and class is permanent but there is no doubt that form can get you a long way and Nick Kyrgios and Francoise Abanda picked up where they left off last week to reach the second round of the junior events at the US Open on Monday.
Australian Kyrgios, the seventh seed in the boys’ event and Canada's Abanda, unseeded in the girls’ singles, both won the Canadian Open junior titles last week.
And while Kimmer Coppejans and Filip Peliwo and Taylor Townsend and Yulia Putintseva occupy the top seeded spots this week, past experience suggests that there could well be more than a few upsets.
Kyrgios, who beat Britain’s Liam Broady in the final in Canada, eased past Russian Anton Desyatnik 64 64 on Monday while 15-year-old Abanda crushed American Brooke Austin 61 62.
“I had a migraine just before the match and then had stomach cramps, so I wasn’t feeling too well,” Kyrgios said. “But I got through it and hopefully after a good night’s sleep I’ll be fine.”
Kyrgios won the doubles title (with fellow Australian Andrew Harris) at both the French Open and Wimbledon but said translating his success to the singles court in New York was his biggest goal.
“To win this would be a dream come true,” he said. “I’ve spoken to Luke Saville, who’s won two and he said it’s impossible to describe how it feels.
“I beat two good players last week, including Liam Broady in the final, so that gave me a lot of confidence. There’s more pressure here but hopefully I can do well.”
Abanda said she had been ready for a tough match but made light of the windy conditions to take her place in the second round.
“Brooke Austin beat me three times,” she said. “I was expecting something closer but I played well at the Canadian Open last week so I was feeling pretty confident.”
The sheer size and scope of the US Open can be daunting for juniors but Abanda said she was learning how to deal with the noise and the crowds that swarm around Flushing Meadows.
“I think the French Open and Wimbledon helped me a lot,” she said. “Now I know what to expect. Last year was my first US Open, everything was new for me, I was not used to the big crowds and the slams, but now I think I’m ready.”
On the back of her win in Canada and having reached the semi-finals at Wimbledon, Abanda is among those tipped to win her first grand slam title but she was keen to play down her chances.
“I don’t have any expectations,” she said. “I’m one of the youngest in the tournament, I just want to come and play my game. Hopefully I can go far but at least go better than last year, which was third round.”
Second seed Peliwo beat American Deiton Daughman 63 63 to cruise into the second round, full of confidence after winning at Wimbledon in July, having lost in the final of both the Australian Open and French Opens.
“Now that I’ve won Wimbledon, I have that grand slam and this is a bonus,” the Canadian said. “Obviously I would like to end the year number one but it doesn’t give me that pressure to win one before I’m done with juniors. Winning Wimbledon definitely took a lot of pressure off.”
Peliwo is in a battle with top seed Kimmer Coppejans to end the year at the top of the rankings and the 18-year-old revealed the two players have been pushing each other on behind the scenes.
“I’ve been friends with Kimmer for many, many years and I have to say he’s a really nice, quiet guy, humble, probably one of the nicest guys on the tour,” Peliwo said.
“I think we’ve got a healthy rivalry. We’re egging on each other a little bit but you never know, what you say might come back and bite you, I’ve had my moments where I kind of trash-talk my friends and then end up losing to them.
“But we always poke fun at each other, it’s all done in fun.”
Fifth seed Mitchell Krueger was a surprise casualty, the American losing 64 57 63 to Or Ram-Harel of Israel, but Broady, seeded 13th, eased into round two with a 64 63 victory over Jose Antonio Salazar Martin of Spain.
German 16-year-old Antonia Lottner, seeded fourth, saw off American Jennifer Brady 63 63 while sixth seed Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic edged out Austria’s Barbara Haas 75 26 76.