Top seeds Nick Kyrgios of Australia and Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic kicked off their bids for Wimbledon junior glory with confident, straightforward wins on Monday.
Having won their respective events in the warm-up tournament at Roehampton last week, Krygios beat Britain’s Evan Hoyt 63 64 and Bencic demolished another home player, Freya Christie 61 61.
Having won the French Open title and the warm-up event at Roehampton, Bencic is now on a 30-match win streak and is hoping to follow in the footsteps of Martina Hingis, who won the junior title in 1994 before going on to win the senior title just three years later.
Bencic now plays Belgium’s Greetje Minnen in round two but the girl she beat in the Roehampton final, Iryna Shymanovich of Belarus, was beaten 67 64 75 by Taylor Townsend, the former junior world No 1 from the United States.
“It was really tough,” Townsend said. “She played really well the whole match, came out serving really well. I was really impressed. Obviously she’s a really good player on grass because she made it to the finals last week in Roehampton.”
Townsend began the year at the top of the rankings but has been focusing on the seniors, lifting her ranking to No 332 on the back of some good results. In the past, the 17-year-old American has been criticised for being out of shape but said she was more than happy with her form and fitness.
“I’m feeling good,” she said. “I think it was very beneficial for me to play those couple of matches in Roehampton, to get some time on grass and get some matches under my belt. It’s really nice to pull out one of these wins today. Mentally, it makes you feel good and it gives you more assurance in yourself physically, to know you can last that long. I’m looking forward to playing some more matches.”
Egypt’s Sandra Samir, part of the ITF/Grand Slam International 18 & Under Touring Team, supported by the Grand Slam Development Fund, beat Italy’s Deborah Chiesa 46 61 75 while three Britons, Harriet Dart, Katie Boulter and Lana Rush made it into round two.
In the boys’ event, Australian Open champion Kyrgios saw off Hoyt to begin what he hopes will be the perfect end to his junior career.
“There’s a lot of expectation being the No1 seed again,” he said. “I want to go out on a pretty good memory. I’ve just got five more days of pretty hard work, knuckling down and hopefully I’ll be on Court 1 (for the final) on Saturday.”
Meanwhile, Britain’s big hope, Kyle Edmund, eased past Young Soek Kim 64 63, making a good job of things after dropping back from the senior event, in which he lost in the first round having been given a wildcard.
Edmund has been practising with men’s world No 2 Andy Murray and was satisfied with his start.
“It went pretty well,” he said. “I was a little bit nervous in the first game and one of my strings went, it was a brand new racket, and that put me off a little bit. But once I got into it and got a feel off the court and into the match played some good tennis.”
Edmund admitted that he is being noticed more but said his level of fame is nothing compared to that of Murray.
“I’m loving this experience,” he said. “You don’t want it to end. But I’m just being myself. I’ve found it a little bit surreal because I’m not used to it but he has to deal with that week in, week out. He deals with a lot of pressure, from himself, and others.
“People are saying well done and there are a few more Tweets, but I think it’s because I’ve been playing on the Tour the last few weeks, at Queen’s, Eastbourne and Wimbledon, so I think people have got to know me a bit better.
“It’s nice to come out of the seniors and play the juniors. It’s a different pressure but a good pressure. It’s my last junior tournament so it’s nice to have it here. I’m not going to put any pressure on myself. I’m just going to go out there and have some fun. I’ll play well if I’m relaxed, I know that. So I’ll just go out there and have a swing.
Serbia’s No 2 seed Nikola Milojevic cruised past another Briton, Jamie Malik, 64 62 while third seed Alexander Zverev edged out Elias Ymer of Sweden 76 76.