AUSSIE SOCRATES TAKES IT ALL IN HIS STRIDE AT NJT INTERNATIONAL MASTERS
When it comes to his tennis career, 14-year Socrates Tsoronis is going about it the Rafa Nadal way. The similarities are stark as both have strong family support with an avuncular base. But while Nadal has one uncle in camp, Tsoronis has two.
The advice coming to him is sound. It is what the top players here constantly. Things like: “no matter what the score is, it’s always about the next point. Whatever happened in the last point has to be put aside.” It’s a lot for a 14-year-old to digest but Socrates has the focus, intensity and determination to absorb it all and most importantly, put it into practice.
He began his tournament in good style, taking out Czech Daniel Orlita 6-3 6-2. On the day Tsoronis lost just two games as the match resumed from Friday with the Australian leading 5-3 in the opening set. However, there was still drama to come as rain had delayed the start of play until around 5pm and the courts had not dried properly.
When they returned to the court Orlita held a 30-15 lead and on the first point Tsoronis ran for a ball he slid on the damp court and fell, scraping his right knee. As a result of the incident Tournament Referee Michel Renaux decided they needed to change.
At that point Orlita held a 40-15 lead but Tsoronis managed to break serve and take the set. “After that it was pretty straightforward,” said the Australian.
In the second set the Czech player was unable to produce the kind of display that saw him lead 2-0 in the opening set, hitting seven clean winners in the opening two games.
The eighth seed will face Nik Krapez in the third round. The Slovenian scored a 6-1 6-1 victory over Alexander Erler of Austria.
Tsoronis said the NJT International Masters was a unique tournament. “Everyone is just so nice, always helpful and friendly. They always make you feel special. And every night you have a party!”
He only other seed to win through on a second rain-interrupted day was No 7, Domagoj Biljesko of Croatia, who scored a 6-4 6-3 victory over South Africa’s Brandon Laubser. While he played well and was a deserved winner on the day, the Croat also had a bit of luck going his way. With Laubser serving at 4-5, Biljesko earned a set point which he converted when the ball clipped the top of the net and dribbled over.
His third round opponent will be Carl Soderlund of Sweden, a 6-1 6-4 winner over Russian Alexander Kkrutskiy.
There was no play in the girls Under-14 draw due to the inclement weather.
SERBIA TO HAVE A STRONG SAY IN UNDER-12 DRAW
Serbian team coach Ivan Todorovic is certainly ruing the decision to drop the team trophy at this year’s NJT International Masters. “That’s my luck. The one year we finally have a chance to win it, they decide to discontinue it.”
He certainly has a strong hand in the Under-12 draws although Jovana Vukovic is one of the wild cards for this tournament. Vukovic completed a 6-3 6-4 victory over Mexico’s Maria Jose Portillo while in the boys draw, sixth seed Ergi Kirkin defeated American Boris Kozlov 6-3 6-3. Both matches began on Friday.
Kirkin played at last year’s event as an 11-year-old and since then has won two under-12 tournaments in Europe and three doubles titles. In addition he reached the finals of and Under-14 event in Serbia. He also participated in a team competition in which they finished third.
“This year I believe I can win this tournament but I have to be realistic and take it point by point, match by match. “
Speaking about his match Kirkin added: “He played good but I think I played smart all match. I’m happy the tournament is on clay although I enjoy playing on hard court as well.”
His next opponent will be Israel’s Omer Hefez. “We played in that team competition on hard court and I won 6-4 6-4. I think I have the advantage on clay.”
Kirkin says his best shot is his forehand and his favourite player is Roger Federer. “He plays so easy”.
Vukovic said she battled in her match “because the girl always plays moon balls”. Speaking about the tournament in general she added: “I think I can go a long way but I will be happy to go out and do my best. I like my backhand as my best shot.”
Her favourite player is Belgian Kim Clijsters, “because she plays like me”.
Her next opponent will be Melanie Pinkitz of Austria who recorded a facile 6-0 6-0 victory over Monica Cappelletti on Friday.
With rain having again interrupted play on Saturday, 65 matches have been scheduled for Sunday although there is still a 30% chance of showers.