This month sees 21-year old Mailen Auroux from Argentina go under the spotlight. Auroux, who plays right handed with a double handed backhand, favours clay courts and this month saw her compete on this surface at three tournaments, the other two tournaments she played were on hard courts. All five tournaments took place in Mexico, the third largest country in Latin America after Brazil and Argentina.
Her first stop, on this mini tour of Mexico, was the state of Guanajuato and the city of Celeya for a $10,000 tournament on the ITF Pro Circuit. Seeded sixth, Auroux came into this clay court tournament on the back of a title winning performance (her first on hard courts) in Brazil the previous week and, as to be expected, was full of confidence. During that title winning run in Brazil, Auroux failed to drop a set and in her opening match here against Fernanda Sandoval, a Mexican Wild Card entrant, Auroux did not even drop a game. She followed this up with straight sets victories in the next two rounds of the competition, including a 61 61 quarterfinal success over the third seed. In her semi final match, Auroux took on the USA’s Julia Cohen, who was the second seed here. Once again Auroux blew her opponent away in straight sets, losing just four games as she recorded an impressive 62 62 win. The final pitted Auroux up against Mexican Fed Cup player Alejandra Granillo, who was competing in her first final on the ITF Pro Circuit. Granillo, conqueror of the tournament’s top seed in the semi final, was up against an in-form player in Auroux and although the first set was close, Auroux dominated the second set to take the title 63 61.
Next, Auroux moved northwesterly to the Pacific coast and Mazatlan, a city in the Mexican state of Sinaloa, which was hosting a $10,000 hard court tournament. Meaning “Place of the Deer” in Nahuatl, Mazatlan saw Auroux suffer a shock 62 76(5) first round defeat to a Wild Card entrant, Giuliana Olmos from Mexico. This defeat for the fifth seed brought an abrupt end to her recent run of ten successive straight sets matches won, a run which saw her pick up the title twice. Auroux’s time in Mazatlan however did not end with this defeat as with Brazilian partner Fernanda Hermenegildo she was entered into the doubles event. Together, seeded third, they made their way through draw to the final, knocking out the second seeds in a tense semi final. Another close match came in the final where they took on the No. 1 seeds, Mexicans Erika Clarke-Magana & Daniela Munoz-Gallegos. With the match level at one set all, the title would be won or lost on a match tiebreak. There was very little to separate the sides in the tiebreak but eventually there had to be a winner and fortunately for Auroux she was on the winning side. This title, won 63 36 [12-10] was her first doubles title on a hard court since July 2008.
Continuing northwards along the state coast, Los Mochis was host to Auroux’s third $10,000 tournament of the month and saw a return to clay court action. Los Mochis, located in northern Sinaloa, almost saw fifth seeded Auroux make another first round exit. South African player, Christi Potgieter, edged the opening set of their first round encounter 75 but Auroux came back strong and dropped just three games over the next two sets to secure passage into the second round. The second round, against Monique Albuquerque, again saw Auroux making a slow start before overpowering her Brazilian opponent 75 61. This straight sets victory seemed to see Auroux’s confidence return and in her quarterfinal and semi final matches she dropped a total of just four games, winning 62 61 and 61 60 respectively. The final was an all-Argentine affair and her opponent was sixth seeded Carla Beltrami. Beltrami, who has represented Argentina at Junior level, out fought Auroux in the final to win 64 62 and claim her first title in her third career final. Defeat also came Auroux’s way in the doubles final. Again partnered by Hermenegildo, the second seeds eventually lost to American Wild Card entrants Yawna Allen & Alina Sullivan on a final set match tiebreak having earlier led the match by one set to love.
Following these final defeats in Los Mochis, Auroux continued north through Mexico for another $10,000 tournament on the ITF Pro Circuit. The fourth of five tournaments she competed in this month took place in the state of Sonora and its second largest city, Ciudad Obregon. Located 326 miles south of the border with the US state of Arizona, Auroux once again found herself having to make the transition from clay to hard courts. Concentrating solely on singles competition here, she started with two straight sets wins to set up a quarterfinal clash with her Mexican opponent from the final in Celeya, Alejandra Granillo. In a surprise to all, Auroux failed to win a game in the opening set but composed herself to turn the match around and wrap up a 06 61 62 victory. Argentina’s Paula Ormaechea became the second player in succession to force Auroux to have to come from behind to earn victory. Having lost the first set of this semi final 64, Auroux came back to take the following two sets 64 62. This win ensured that the spectators at he final would see a clash between the top two seeded players. Her opponent was Brazilian Nathalia Rossi and the last time these two faced each other on court was earlier in the month in the quarterfinals at Celeya, where Auroux conceded just four games. This time, Auroux went one better and with the loss of just three games, all in the opening set, she claimed yet another title.
To end the month, Auroux travelled to the Mexican state of Chihuahua and the city of Juarez. Standing on the impressive Rio Grande, across the border from the US state of Texas, Auroux was to finish the month just as she had started it, playing in a $10,000 ITF Pro Circuit tournament on her favoured clay courts. Named as the top seed for the second consecutive tournament, Auroux saw off challenges from Peru’s Mariana Demichelli Vergara 75 62 and qualifier Barbara Rush from Argentina 63 64 in the first two rounds. This brought about a quick on-court reunion with Andrea Koch-Benvenuto, whom she defeated in a close match 64 75 in the previous week’s first round. This reunion however didn’t last too long as Auroux comfortably won 64 60. Argentine qualifier Maria-Tania Abraham was then seen off 60 63 in the semi final leaving Paula Ormaechea, her semi final opponent from Ciudad Obregon, standing between her and a third title from four finals this month. Just as in that previous encounter, Auroux found herself dropping the opening set, this time 62. The second set of this final saw Auroux level the match as she reversed the first set score line and from there she went on to claim victory, winning 26 62 63.
So, the month began with a title winning performance and ended in the same manner. The three singles titles won during the month saw her increase her career record to nine titles from fourteen finals, for 2009 her record now reads as five titles from seven finals. Her doubles triumph in Mazatlan was her second from four finals this year and the sixth of her career from fourteen finals. The ranking points picked up this month will see her improve her ranking position and return to the top 400 for the first time since early April 2009. Her career high ranking in singles is 320, first reached in April 2008, and on this form she can hope to soon surpass that.