Photo: Hiromasa ManoSiqi Cao (CHN)
One of the all important lessons that tennis players must learn is how to cope with rain delays. A look back to the recent US Open, or any number of Wimbledons before the roof was built, shows that coping with weather delays will not be an unusual occurrence for the juniors who move on to the professional circuits, and that those at the Osaka Mayor’s Cup, World Super Junior Championship are getting a crash course on the subject.
Heavy rain as a result of two typhoons in the area forced organisers to cancel all matches on Wednesday and move all matches on Thursday to the Bean Dome indoor facility, some distance away from the Utsubu Tennis Centre.
Play got underway on eight indoor courts with boys and girls singles matches the top on the list of priorities. To deal with the large backlog of matches to get through an amended scoring system was introduced using a ten-point tie-break in place of a third set.
Both top seeds in the boys and girls draw coped well with the disruption although Korea’s Duck Hee Lee was made to work for his 60 06 [10-6] victory by Japan’s Ryotara Matsura. Russia’s Varvara Flink, No.1 seed in the girls trouble had no trouble dispatching Hong Kong’s Eudice Chong 62 63.
In what was undoubtedly the match of the day unseeded Mateusz Terczynski from Poland edged out No.7 seed Simon Frills Soendegaard from Denmark in a 57 64 [11-9] thriller. Soendegaard is no stranger to an indoor setting having won two indoor tournaments at the beginning of 2013 in Slovak Republic and Denmark and so was expected to deal with the conditions the better of the two boys. However it was the Pole, in a step up in class in terms of tournament level he has played, who held his nerve in the tense final set tie-break and made it through to the third round.
Other seeds to fall in the boys draw included eleventh seed Alexander Sendegaya from Great Britain who succumbed to local hope Sora Fukuda 64 61, and Polish No.9 seed Marc Polmans who was beaten by Great Britain’s Lewis Roskilly 63 63. The sixteenth seed Yusuke Takahashi was another player who fell foul of the final set tie-break going down to Chan-Yeong Oh from Kora 63 62 [10-5]. Takahashi’s defeat leaves the host country with four boys through to the third round.
There were also surprises in the girls draw with three seeds not making it through to the round of 16. The biggest shock in yet another final set epic came courtesy of Great Britain’s Emily Arbuthnott who defeated fifth seed Ziyue Sun from China 63 62 [11-9]. Sun had recently hit a hot streak of form winning two titles in China in September, China Junior 16, Beijing and China Junior 15, Xiamen although it was the Brit who held her nerve to take the match.
America’s Michaela Gordon, seeded 12, did not fare so well again Chinese opposition and became another player to fall victim to the dreaded final set tie-break, losing to Siqi Cao 63 57 [10-8] whilst sixteenth seed Britt Geukens from Belgium lost in less dramatic fashion to Australia’s Kimberly Birrell 62 75.
One player who despite losing her second round match has gained some valuable experience is Japan’s Saya Ito who was awarded a wildcard into the event. Ito lost to China’s Xiado You but is already looking forward to next year:
“It is the first time for me to join this Osaka Super Junior GA tournament. I won my first round match and I lost second round in 26 36, It is very sad, but I could do my play-style from beginning to end of the match. I deeply regret it but I will return next year for sure.”
Play continues indoors on Friday with matches split between two venues, the Esaka Tennis Center and Beans Dome.
For full draws and results click here