Photo: Susan MullaneElena Gabriela Ruse (ROU)
It was an exciting day at Wimbledon on Tuesday for the unseeded Elena Gabriela Ruse of Romania and Greetje Minnen of Belgium. Both 16-year-old’s scored victories over seeded players.
The No. 54 ranked Ruse, who goes by Gaby, took a surprisingly easy 64 61 win in 50-minutes over fourth seed Aliona Bolsova Zadoinov of Spain.
The No. 39 ranked Minnen also needed only two sets to post a 63 64 win over 16th seed Naiktha Bains of Australia.
The 16-year-old Ruse started playing tennis at 4-years-old when her mother asked if she’d like to try the sport. I said, “Oh yeah, of course, it will be very fun there. Now I love playing because it is my life.”
Ruse’s role model in tennis is Viktoria Azarenka because she admires the Belarussian’s aggressive nature on the court.
But it’s been Romanian star Simona Halep, who reached the Roland Garros final last month, who gave Ruse some important advice about Wimbledon.
“She told me, ‘Gaby, you must play really faster on the grass. You must stay down and go to the net, if you can you must go to the net,” said Ruse, who trains at the same gym as Halep.
In the first set of the match, Bolsova Zadoinov started out with the advantage, holding a 4-2 lead. But that’s when Ruse started her comeback, winning the final four games of the first set, and taking both of her own service games at love.
In the second set, it all went Ruse’s way except for when Bolsova Zadoinov held serve in the fourth game.
“I’m playing the first time here and it’s really good I played so good on grass,” Ruse said. “I played one match at Roehampton and lost. Today, I played faster and tried to play crosscourt and tried to come to the net all the time.”
Minnen raced to a 4-1 lead in the first set of her 67-minute match against Bains. The Australian’s’ struggle started when she lost her serve in the fourth game. In that game, Bains served four double faults before losing her serve when facing a fifth break point.
It was at that point that rain stopped the match on Monday night, leaving Minnen to wait until Tuesday to finish the first-round match.
In the second set, Bains opened with a 3-0 lead, but watched it unravel quickly. She only held serve once more from that point in the seventh game, which she won at love.
“I kept playing and then my serve got better again, and it went better and better for me after being down 3-0,” “I’ve never experienced that, having to come back to finish a match. I slept well because I won the first set, but if I had lost that first set I wouldn’t have slept.”
Another junior girl who posted a first round upset was Maia Lumsden of Great Britain, who ousted second seed Catherine Cartan Bellis of USA 67 (4) 63 64.
“I knew it was a big upset because I know she’s been winning a lot lately,” Lumsden said. “It was tough and a good win for me.”
And Indonesia’s Tami Grende upset 15th seed Ana Bondar 61 64.
Eighth seed Kristina Schmiedlova of Slovakia posted a 61 62 first round win over Usue Maitane Arconada of USA.
“I played very good today,” Schmiedlova said. “I played at Roehampton and made the final so I feel very confident. I was a little bit nervous but I told myself I played the final last week.”
Schmiedlova had a late start in tennis. The 16-year-old was first introduced to the sport when she was seven.
“My parents wanted me to play some sport and my sister started to play tennis, so I tried it and also liked it” she said.
In boys’ matches on Tuesday, sixth seed Stefan Kozlov of USA defeated qualifier rafael Matos of Brazil 64 61; seventh seed Francis Tiafoe of USA defeated Martin Blasko of Slovakia 64 36 64; ninth seed Naoki Nakagawa of Japan beat Daniel Appelgren of Sweden 75 62; and 11th seed Michael mmoh of USA defeated Jan Choinski of Germany 67 (2) 63 61.