Photo: Susan MullaneBelinda Bencic (SUI)
Belinda Bencic took another step closer to winning back to back grand slam junior titles as she reached the quarter-finals of the girls’ event at Wimbledon on Wednesday, while one of her biggest rivals and three of the favourites for the boys’ event suffered surprise defeats.
Switzerland’s Bencic, coached by Martina Hingis’s mother Melanie Molitor, battled past 13th seed Anett Kontaveit of Estonia 64 46 62 to reach the last eight but third seed Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic was beaten 46 75 64 by America’s Louisa Chirico.
Boy’s top seed Nick Kyrgios was stunned 62 62 by Hyeon Chung of Korea while third seed Alexander Zverev was forced to quit in the third set of his match with 15-year-old American Stefan Kozlov because of a shoulder injury and seventh seed Christian Garin from Chile, the French Open winner, quit when trailing Maximilian Marterer of Germany 63 32 with Achilles pain.
Bencic took her winning streak to 32 matches with a battling performance against Kontaveit, who pushed her all the way. “In the third round, me against her was not really good for the tournament, to play so early against such a good player,” the 16-year-old said. “ I knew it would be very tough. In the second set I had some problems focusing but in the third set my serve worked well.”
Coming from Switzerland, the pressure will be on Bencic to emulate the achievements of Hingis, who won the junior title here in 1994 and went on to win the senior title three years later. But Bencic said she was just trying to make a name for herself in her own, unassuming way.
“I don’t want to feel pressure that I have to be where she was at that age because it’s almost impossible,” Bencic said. “I just focus on myself. It would be amazing (if she could win the title) but I just want to look forward to my quarter-final match.
“But I know Martina well. Now she’s travelling all over the world and we see each other on the grand slams and I am really honoured that she sometimes comes to my matches. She gives me advice about what I can do better. She was my biggest hero growing up and now I know her well.”
Americans Taylor Townsend, Jamie Loeb and Chirico all advanced to the last eight, while second seed Ana Konjuh and fourth seed Barbora Krejcikova also advanced.
Ukraine's Anhelina Kalinina, part of the ITF/Grand Slam International 18 & Under Touring Team, supported by the Grand Slam Development Fund, beat Russia's Anastasiya Komardina 36 64 61.
In the boys’ event, Kyrgios suffered a shock defeat by Chung, who played superb tennis to win in straight sets. “I didn’t feel any pressure because he’s the top seed,” Chung said. “I have been feeling very confident and played well. It took me some time to get used to the grass but now I am playing very well on it.”
Kozlov showed he could be a major force in the junior game with a fine win over third seed Zverev.
“I was really, really nervous, that was the most nervous I have ever been,” Kozlov said. “After a break between the first and second sets, I came back not worrying as much, just trying to play my game. It took a few games because the first set was pretty bad, first set I was tight.
“I played him two years ago and I won 1 and 1 so I knew he was looking for revenge and I knew he was playing really well.”
Kozlov now plays fifth seed Kyle Edmund, who beat fellow Brit Jonny O’Mara 63 62. “I think I won’t be nervous tomorrow,” Kozlov said. “I play Kyle, he’s a couple of years older than me so it should be good.”
Second seed Nikola Milojevic of Serbia beat Enzo Couacoud of France 75 64 and now plays sixth seed Gianluigi Quinzi of Italy, who crushed Johan Sebastien Tatlot 61 61.
Another Serbian, fourth seed Laslo Djere, came from behind for the second straight round, beating Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis 36 62 60 while eighth seed Borna Coric of Croatia ousted ninth seed Filippo Baldi of Italy 64 75.