Photo: Susan MullaneBelinda Bencic (SUI)
While millions of people around the world were unwrapping gifts and sitting down to Christmas dinner there was no rest for the juniors at the Abierto Juvenil Mexicano. Christmas Day is like any other day and a full schedule needed to be played.
Missing the snow back home in Switzerland was Belinda Bencic, top seed in the girls draw. This is Belinda’s first visit to Mexico City and to the Club Deportivo and she described her first impressions of both as “very big and very nice.”
The Swiss top seed made it safely through the second round with a straight sets victory over Venezuela’s Carmen Blanco 62 63 but she isn’t taking anything for granted. "If I win I have to beat all the players, I have no rival in particular. For me every match is difficult no match is easier than the other."
Bencic has experience of playing important matches in front of big crowds having played a match against Venus Williams. “It was a great experience, every game was very difficult and I learnt a lot. When I played her I was very excited and a little nervous, but confident and focused on the game. There were so many people in the stadium, it was very difficult.”
Also through to the third round is second seed in the girls draw Ching-Wen Hsu from Chinese Taipei who like Bencic scored a straightforward victory over Mexican Cassandra Vasquez 63 64. Elise Mertens from Belgium and Karin Kennel, a compatriot of Bencic from Switzerland made it a successful Christmas Day for the top four seeds in the girls draw, also making it through with straight sets wins over Jil Belen Teichmann 63 63 and Hana Mortagy 60 62 respectively. American No.16 seed Alexandra Morozova was the seed to succumb losing a hard fought battle to Constanza Gorches from Mexico 63 36 62.
The top seeds in the girls draw illustrate just how international a field is drawn to the first Grade A of the season in Mexico. There are players from 24 countries competing in the boys’ event: Serbia, Portugal, Japan, Croatia, United States, Belgium, Peru, Mexico, China Taipei, Chile, Germany, India, Korea, Colombia, Brazil, Tunisia, Venezuela, Canada, Ecuador, Belgium, China, Russia, Sweden and Britain. The Girls’ competitors come from 21 different countries: Slovakia, Russia, Switzerland, United States, China Taipei, Belgium, Japan, Colombia, Mexico, Ukraine, Great Britain, Brazil, Canada, Slovenia, Hungary, Czech Republic, Venezuela, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden and Egypt.
There were no big surprises in the boys draw with all seeds in action but one making it through their second round matches.