Photo: Fred and Susan MullaneStefan Kozlov (USA)
Just like in golf, beware the injured tennis player.
American Stefan Kozlov has been through his share of heartache in the junior grand slams this year but it’s going to take more than a niggling injury to derail his attempt to win a first major title.
The 16-year-old fourth seed, who lost in the final at the Australian Open and at Wimbledon, hurt his wrist before his second-round match at the US Open but battled through the pain to take his place in round three on Wednesday.
“I sprained my wrist a little bit so I just wanted to make it feel good for singles,” said Kozlov, who withdrew from the doubles event.
“It happened yesterday. It felt OK, I played through it obviously, it’s not very bad, but I’ll have to take some time off after this tournament.”
Showing typical resilience, Kozlov saw off Brazil’s Rafael Matos 76 64, having broken back in the 10th game of the opening set when Matos served for it.
But after taking the tiebreak 72, Kozlov broke once to win the second and advance to the third round, much to his relief.
“I played him at Wimbledon but I think grass is not his best surface,” Kozlov said. “I think today he played much better. I didn’t expect him to play that well. It was a tough battle, hot, tough conditions, windy.”
Despite going so close in two of the year’s three grand slams, Kozlov said he did not feel under any more pressure to win in New York, even though he plans to focus on the men’s Tour after he’s finished. “If it happens, it happens, but we’ll see,” he said.
“This is probably my last year in juniors, realistically. It’s obviously tough losing two finals in one year but I’m happy it happened in the juniors rather than the pros or something. There’s always another tournament.”
It was a disappointing day for another Brazilian as second seed Orlando Luz was hammered 62 62 by Jan Choinski of Germany.
Fifth seed Quentin Halys of France beat Alex Rybakov 64 62 while eighth seed Roman Safiullin of Russia beat Australia’s Marc Polmans 62 75.
In the girls’ event, Iryna Shymanovich and Tornado Alicia Black moved into the third round with hard-fought wins.
Belarussian third seed Shymanovich recovered to beat American Francesca Di Lorenzo 46 61 62 while American fourth seed Black ended the hopes of Viktoria Kuzmova 64 46 62.
Shymanovich arrived in New York nursing a leg injury after winning a silver medal at the Youth Olympic Tennis Event in Nanjing and made a slow start before advancing.
“The first set was like a kind of warm-up,” Shymanovich said. “In the second set, I found my game and won.
“I didn’t practice for five days years because I had a problem with my leg but with every match it’s getting better,” she said. “I pulled it in the semi-finals (of the Youth Olympics).”
Shymanovich said reaching the final of the Youth Olympics had given her confidence coming into the final grand slam event of the year.
“For me it’s something big to play for my country, so I did a great result so I am so happy,” she said. “There were a lot of good players and I did some great matches. I am very happy what I did there.
“It’s not more important (than a slam) but for me it’s something big for me to play for my country so when I play in summer Cup, junior Fed Cup and Olympics, something inside me helps me.”
Canada’s Katherine Sebov ousted Tami Grende of Indonesia 76 36 64 while ninth seed Anhelina Kalinina of Ukraine beat Katie Swann 63 62.
For full results and draws click here