Photo: Mathilde DusolMartin de la Puente (ESP)
Alfie Hewett, Martin de la Puente, Carlos Anker and Nico Langmann secured their passages from their round-robin groups through to Saturday boys’ singles semifinals on Friday’s second day of the Cruyff Foundation Junior Masters.
Meanwhile, defending champion Diede do Groot and world No. 1 ranked Mariska Venter won their second round robin matches in the girls’ singles in Tarbes, France. The most prestigous junior wheelchair tennis event takes place annually alongside the renowned Les Petits As junior tournamnent.
Hewett advanced unbeaten at the top of Group 1 in the boys’ singles after easing to a 61 63 victory over Thato Tsomole, South Africa’s world No. 3 ranked player in the junior boys’ rankings, in the last of their three round-robin matches.
Sixteen-year-old world No. 1 junior Hewett, the champion for the last two years, will now play Langmann, the runner-up in Group 2, for a place in Sunday’s final.
Langmann, also 16, took on last year’s runner-up, Dutch world No. 2 Carlos Anker, to decide who finished top of Group 2.
Anker saved a set point at 5-2 down and battled back against Langmann to give himself the chance of serving for the set at 6-5 up. Anker went on to earn a set point of his own and although it needed to be replayed, it was the only chance that Anker needed to take the initiative. The 17-year-old Dutchman made a much better start to the second set and soon put the seal on a 75 62 win.
With Anker topping Group 2 and Langmann finishing second, Anker goes on to play Spain’s Martin de la Puente in the last four. De la Puente finishing runner-up to Hewett in Group 1 after defeating American Chris Herman 63 64.
The day’s other Group 2 match resulted in Spain’s Felix Garcia beating Sean de Hilster of South Africa 60 63. After two close losses on the opening day of play, Garcia bounced back and showed much greater consistency than de Hilster in the opening set. De Hilster started to find some decent form in the second set, but it was too late and Garcia eventually completed a 60 63 victory.
De Groot and Venter record girls’ singles victories
The No. 2 and No. 3 ranked junior girls players went head-to-head in their second of three round-robin singles matches, with defending champion and world No. 3 Diede de Groot beating Russia’s world No. 2 Viktoriia Lvova.
De Groot took control of the game from the outset, racing to the first set 6-2. Thereafter, Lvova was unable to really make her mark and the Dutch 17-year-old prevailed 62 63.
The current girls’ singles No. 1, South Africa’s Mariska Venter, faced 2013 Youth Parapan American Games gold medallist Lizbeth Soto Rivera of Mexico.
Venter soon took a 3-1 lead, but a run of errors from the South African and some good play from Soto Rivera allowed the Mexican wildcard back into the match. Soto Rivera, who is making her debut in Tarbes, went on to take the first set 6-4.
However, Venter soon regained her form, managing to find the court off her short balls and she easily took the second 6-2.
The third and deciding set once again saw several swings in momentum. Soto Rivera went 2-0 up and looked to be taking control of the contest, but Venter fought back to lead 4-2 herself.
Fortune swung Soto Rivera’s way as she hit Venter’s chair with one return, giving the Mexican an unexpected point, but some good forehands also helped her cause as she prevented Venter from opening up a 5-2 lead and instead levelled the set at 4-4. However, Venter’s experience eventually won the day and she wrapped up a 46 62 64 victory.
Boys’ doubles finalists decided
There was a thrilling climax to the boys’ doubles semifinal between de la Puente and Garcia and Anker and Herman, with Anker and Herman holding on in a deciding championship tiebreak for a memorable 36 61 (12-10) victory.
Anker and Herman face Hewett and Langmann in the final as Hewett bids for his third Junior Masters boys’ doubles title with his third different partner. Hewett and Langmann beat de Hilster and Tsomole 63 63 in their semifinal.
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