Photo: Hiromasa ManoVarvara Flink (RUS)
The Osaka Mayor's Cup - World Super Juniors Tennis Championships the penultimate Grade A of the 2013 ITF Junior Circuit kicked off yesterday in Japan. The top level event presents an opportunity for players to boost their ranking in the run up to the end of the year and make all the difference to their year-end ranking.
Russia's top seed Varvara Flink knows that a good performance in Japan could push her up the rankings in the race for the all important Juniors Exempt places available to top ten finishers. The Russian got her campaign off to the best possible start with a straight sets win over loval wildcard Momoko Koburi (JPN 64 62.
Since her win at the Grade A Cope Gerdau in Brazil Flink has played a limited junior schedule with just two appearances at junior Roland Garros and the US Open juniors, but suffered first round losses in each. A first round win will go some way to ease the nerves and set her on her way.
Fourth seed Ivana Jorovic from Serbia also made a positive start in the draw with a 63 62 win over Japanese wildcard Maria Mukai. Jorovic's best results this year have come on clay with four tournament wins, two in Hungary, one in the Netherlands and the Grade 1 Allianz Kundler German Juniors. Now on the hard courts of Japan the Serbian is looking to make her mark in a Grade A event.
One seed who didn't fare as well in the girls' draw was No.2 seed Katie Boulter from Great Britain. The Brit had previously performed well in Asia, hjaving reached two finals in Malaysia and the Phillipines earlier in the year, however on this occasion she was taken out in three sets by Japan's Chihiro Muramatso 61 16 64. Other Brits in the draw who, unlike Boulter, did progress were Freya Christia who defeated Emma Higuchi from USA 63 26 62 and Emily Arbuthnott who saw off Japan's Maya Okawa in straight sets 64 64.
In the boys’ draw, second seed Michael Mmoh from USA showed some promising early form in his 64 62 win over Japan’s Renta Tokuda and, in doing so, set up a second round meeting with Japanese wildcard Yusuke Takemoto.
Australia’s Bradley Mousley, seeded No.3, is another player with designs on the title this week and he got off to a flying start with a 60 63 over Japanese qualifier Yuta Shimizu.
Ken Onishi, Japan’s highest ranked boy will be carrying the home hopes and undoubtedly will benefit from the enthusiastic Japanese supporters. Much to their delight he started well, seeing off Alberto Lim from the Philippines 75 61.
All other seeds in the boys draw also progressed to the second round, although top seed Duck Hee Lee from Korea waits until day two for his first round match following his title win at the Grade 2 Dunlop Japan Open Junior Championships last week
Full draws and rseults can be found here.