Photo: Hiromasa ManoAyaka Okuno (JPN)
OSAKA, JAPAN: Players at the Osaka Mayor’s Cup World Super Junior Tennis Championships are used to having to do battled against quality opposition and occasionally the elements but Friday saw a new challenge for those who had made it to the quarter-finals of the Grade A event - a stomach bug.
Poor Indy De Vroome of the Netherlands was forced to pull out of the tournament altogether - in singles and doubles - when she was struck down with the bug. In singles, her quarter-final opponent Katerina Siniakova received a walkover into the last four of the Grade A event. She and partner Kanami Tsuji (JPN) were also forced to forfeit their doubles quarter-final, only to see their quarter-final opponents, Ching-Wen Hsu (TPE) and Anhelina Kalinina (UKR) withdraw after Hsu also suffered stomach problems.
Siniakova, the top seed in girls’ singles, will now take on British fifth seed Katy Dunne in the last four after Dunne pulled off a gritty 57 64 64 victory over third seed Elise Mertens of Belgium. Siniakova, 16, and Dunne, 17, have met once before on the ITF Junior Circuit, when they faced off in the claycourt final of the 2011 Epitok-Abris Cup in Hungary. On that occasion, Siniakova prevailed in three sets to take the title.
On the other side of the girls’ singles draw, fourth seed Karin Kennel of Switzerland continued her good form of this week with a 62 63 quarter-final victory over Klaartje Liebens of Belgium. Kennel has a familiar opponent up next, for she takes on Osaka-born Ayaka Okuno in what will be a replay of last week’s quarter-final match at the Dunlop Japan Open Junior Championships. Judging by the close scoreline in that one - which Okuno won 75 in the third set - spectators at the Utsubo Tennis Center should expect another compelling encounter.
The boys’ competition was not without its medical dramas on Friday. Third seed Nikola Milojevic of Serbia retired from his quarter-final after suffering discomfort in his chest muscles. His opponent, unseeded Korean Seong-Chan Hong, was leading 76(5) 54 at the time. Hong will now take on second seed Kaichi Uchida of Japan, who survived a first set scare to ease past Michael Mmoh of the USA 36 75 60 in their quarter-final.
At the top of the boys’ singles draw, top seeded Australian Nick Krygios continued to impress by notching up a 63 62 win over Johan Sebastien Tatlot of France and now takes on Borna Coric after the Croatian fourth seed inflicted a 62 60 demolition on Maxime Janvier of France.
It will be a first meeting on the ITF Junior Circuit for both Hong and Uchida and Krygios and Coric, although those two will also face off in the boys’ doubles final, where Kyrgios is partnering compatriot Omar Jasika and Coric is playing alongside Alexander Sendegeya of Great Britain.
Dunne will partner her countrywoman Harriet Dart in the girls doubles final - theirs was the side of the doubles draw decimated by stomach bug - and they will take on the local pairing of Mami Adachi and Hikari Yamamoto.