RAIN HAS THE FINAL SAY ON OPENING DAY OF NJT INTERNATIONAL MASTERS
ONLY three matches in the boys Under-14 draw of the Nike Junior Tour International Masters were able to be completed before the rain came down at Club Med Sandpiper on Friday’s opening day.
At least three of the top four seeds now know who they will play in the second round. Israel’s Ram Kapach proved far too consistent for Mexico’s Jesus Santiago Suarez Rivas, scoring a facile 6-0 6-1 victory, and will now face top seed Seongchan Hong of Korea.
Germany’s Fabian Fallert set up a second-round encounter with second seed Bogdan Borzu of Romania when he ousted Tinghui Zhang of China 6-4 6-1. Fallert should have closed the match out a lot earlier after serving for the opening set at 5-2 but he made a host of mistakes – including two double faults - in a game that lasted 20 points and dropped his serve. He also had a set point in the next game on Zhang’s serve but failed to convert. However, despite dropping the first two points of his next service game, the German held his nerve this time to close out the set.
Now in control, Fallert kept up the pressure in the second and this time the relentless counter-puncher made no mistake. He broke in the opening game and despite the Chinese player holding for 1-2, Fallert reeled off the next four games to close out the match.
Serbian Filip Grbic also moved into the second round with a 6-1 6-0 win against Stefan di Aloy of Argentina and will face fourth seed Sascha Zverev of Germany. Amazingly Grbic dropped his serve in the opening game but then won 12 successive games to take the match.
RUDI SETS THE PACE WITH HIS OWN WEBSITE
Rudolph Molleker has great doubts that he will win the boys Under-12 draw at the Nike Junior Tour International Masters this year but he has already made history at the tournament.
The 11-year-old is the first player to participate in this tournament to have his own website – rudi-molleker.de.
“It started about 18 months ago,’’ explains Molleker. “It was my birthday and my coach set up the website as my birthday present. My brother keeps it up to date.” He gets quite a few hits on the site, mainly from other tennis players.
Although just 11 years old, Rudi is the No 1 ranked Under-12 player in Germany and earned his place at this tournament without dropping a set at the German Masters. He started off here where he left off in Halle, winning his opening match against Karlo Divkovic of Croatia without dropping a set – 6-3 6-4. “It was a good match to win but I didn’t play that well. I was a bit nervous in the beginning.”
Molleker went down 1-3 in the second set but won the next five games, giving him a chance to serve for match. However, he dropped his serve and but played a good return game to close out the match.
Asked whether he thought he could win the tournament Rudi answered with a decisive “no”! “They play better and they are older. I have to be realistic. Of course I want to win and I will try to win as many matches as I can.”
He rates his backhand as his best shot but says he loves to play more on the forehand.
Rudi will next play Jonas Ericksson Ziverts who literally came back from the dead to win his match against Spain’s Marc Roura. The Spaniard led 5-1 in the final set and held two match points when the Swede went down 15-40 on his serve. Showing great tenacity and courage Ziverts managed to hold serve and then keep Roura under pressure. As the Swede continued to chip away at the lead, the Spaniard began to make more mistakes and even when having two points to force the match into a tie-breaker, Roura was unable to close out the game. In the end Ziverts won through 6-3 0-6 7-5 in two hours and eight minutes.
The two other seeded player to win through were No 4 Camilo Ugo Carbelli of Argentina and No 5 Miomir Kecmanovic of Serbia. They will now face Amadatus Admiraal of The Netherlands and American Gianni Ross respectively.
SCHMIEDLOVA LONE SEED TO IN THROUGH TO ROIUND THREE IN UNDER-14 GIRLS DRAW
The girls Under-14 draw at the NJT International Masters was also affected by the rain with only six matches completed on the day.
Sixth seed Kristina Schmiedlova of the Slovak Republic managed to complete her win over Hungary’s Rebeka Stolmar 6-2 6-3 and learned that she will be facing Aleksandra Pospelova of Russia in the third round.
At least the four first round matches were able to be completed and Aliona Bolsava of Spain, a 7-5 6-1 winner over South Africa’s Nadine de Villiers, set up a second-round encounter against top seed Maria Shishkina of the USA.
Jil Teichmann of Switzerland defeated Nina Potocnik of Slovenia 6-4 6-4 and will now face second seed Naiktha Bains of Australia while Alena Weiss of Austria will play third seed Ana Konjuh of Croatia following her 6-1 6-3 defeat of China’s Yuenv Li.
In the only other first round match Victoria Muntean of France beat Emily Smith of Britain 6-3 6-2 and will now square up against fourth seed Ivana Jorovic of Serbia.
NICOLE IS KEEN TO KEEP ON LEARNING
American Nicole Conard had the perfect start in the girls Under-12 draw of the NJT International Masters with a 6-1 6-0 victory over Khiri Yasmine of Morocco.
“I thought I was pretty relaxed. I didn’t play my best but it was the first round and I thought I played pretty well under the circumstances.”
Sixth seeded Conard is another 11-year-old who is staking a claim in an Under-12 draw of the tournament. She has been playing tennis since she was seven and loves what she is doing. “I love the competition and I just love be in the eye of the camera. It’s good to have something to strive for and I really enjoy learning. And, of course, I love to win.”
However, she is not thinking about winning the tournament at this stage. “Every match is going to be tough and I’m just going to take it one match at a time. Of course I would l love to win the tournament but I’m not going to focus on that.”
Whatever her fate, Conard is happy to be at the NJT International Masters. “This is really a great tournament. It’s different from all the others we go to.”
She is on line to meet top seed Sofya Zhuk in the quarter-finals but first she needs to deal with Rebeka Masarova of Spain.
Another player who is delighted to be at this event is South Africa’s Zani Barnard, who is one half of a set of twins. She and her sister, Lee, turned out to be a two-girl demolishing combination in the Nation’s Cup. Played on clay in Italy the Barnard twins teamed up to beat Malta, Spain and Croatia. In the semifinals they took out Canada in the final beat Chile to claim the title.
Barnard defeated Slovakian wild card Viktoria Morvayova 6-3 6-3 and feels the early match will keep her in good stead when she takes on fourth seeded Czech Marketa Vondrousova. “I think it will be an advantage to having played a match. It gives me more confidence.
“I was happy with the way I played today. She has a very funny technique on her forehand so I kept playing to her forehand and she made the mistakes.”
The only other seeded player to complete her match on the day was fifth seeded American Ryan Peus, who scored a 6-2 6-2 win over Lea Romain of France.