Photo: Corinne DubreuilMarc Polmans (AUS)
There’s nothing like having someone to look up to and Australians Harry Bourchier and Marc Polmans took inspiration from new stars Nick Krygios and Thanasi Kokkinakis as they reached the third round of the Australian Open Junior Championships on Monday.
Bourchier took out Spain’s Jaume Antoni Munar Clar, who had been so impressive in round one, 63 64, while Polmans saw off American fifth seed Michael Mmoh, 63 75.
Both players have had the advantage of training alongside Krygios and Kokkinakis, the junior finalists in Melbourne last year and who reached the second round of the men’s event last week.
“I train with Thanasi and Krygios,” said Bourchier, who turns 18 on Friday. “It’s really helpful to see them progress first. Now it’s my time, so it’s good.”
“I would say I’m the fittest here and almost one of the strongest in the junior tournament.
“I want to win (the title), definitely. I don’t count myself out. I can beat anyone of those guys. It’s just about me bringing it on the day. In the past I’ve been pretty patchy, good one day and not the next. But I’ve cut that down a lot and I’m really happy. I think I’ve got a rhythm in the tournament now.”
Polmans, a year younger than Bourchier, was born in Durban but moved to Australia with his parents at the age of 10, leaving his extended family at home as his father started up a business.
Having failed to serve out the match at 54 in the second set, he stuttered again at 65 but held on to take his place in the third round.
“It was too close for my liking,” he said. “I played quite well, better than my first-round match. I was nice and aggressive today and feeling quite confident. Just happy to pull the match off, close second set.”
Cheered on by a vociferous home crowd, Polmans echoed Bourchier’s thoughts about the benefits of training with his fellow Australians.
“Thanasi and Krygios are such and inspiration,” he said. “They’re such good blokes, really nice and I’ve seen how hard they train. They really inspire me to be like them.
“Hopefully next year – there’s a long way to go – but if I can one day be where they are that would be a good dream come true for me. I train quite similar to them but they can obviously keep that standard of high intensity for longer than I am. I’m just working on my legs in the gym so I can train at more intensity.”
While Bourchier has his sights set firmly on the title, Polmans was a little more realistic about his chances.
“I hope to make the quarters,” he said. “If I make the quarters that’s a chunk of points and it would help my ranking. I’m trying to get my ranking into the top 30 because that will give me entry to all of the grand slams.”
Only a trace remains of Polman’s South African accent, something he admits came about as a necessity, rather than through natural evolution.
“In the first few years, I couldn’t understand what people were saying and they couldn’t understand what I was saying, so I had to catch on to the Australian accent quite fast,” he said. “Now my South African coach can’t understand me when I speak.”
For the second day in a row, No. 2 seed Stefan Kozlov found himself in another battle, trailing by a set and 2-0 in the second to Simon Friis Soendergaard of Denmark.
But the American battled back to take the second set and then ripped through the third to record a 67 75 60 victory, joining ninth seed Kamil Majchrzak of Poland and No. 10 Andrey Rublev in round three.
There was a shock in the girls’ event when third seed Anhelina Kalinina of Ukraine was upended 26 64 64 by Australia’s Kimberley Birrell, who was forced to comeback from a break down in both the second and third sets.
Second seed Ivana Jorovic had no such trouble, beating Jil Belen Teichmann of Switzerland 62 63 to take her place in round three, while South Africa’s Ilze Hattingh, who is receiving help from the Grand Slam Development Fund, beat Yukina Saigo of Japan 63 63.
Fifteenth seed Fiona Ferro of France dispatched Emilie Francati of Denmark 62 62, whilst Britain's Katie Boulter continued her good form with a straight sets victory over Russia's Natalia Vikhlyantseva 64 63.
Boulter will face seventh seed Ziyue Sun (CHN) in the third round. Sun survived a scare against Australia's Olivia Tjandramulia today, with a 61 26 62 victory.