There was very little success to be had at the ITF Juniors Grade A event in Paris this week – a.k.a the Junior French Open, as there were no youngsters that were able to come through qualifying and zero first round victories for our players at the elite level of the junior game.
— Neil Saunders (@neil_saunders71) May 31, 2016
RG Juniors R1: 14-yo Caty McNally d. (6)Katie Swan 64 63
Big win for the youngster, becoming a major threat against anyone. #RG16
— Graham (@juki_tennis) May 29, 2016
The results can be taken two ways: the less optimistic fan will comment on how none of our very best juniors were even able to scrape through the first round of the only clay-court slam, but the more astute observer will want to wait until our youngsters get a chance to prove themselves on what is for many their preferred surface – the grass of Wimbledon.
Alexis Canter, Alastair Gray and Ewan Moore all failed to pick up even one win in qualifying, while Jodie Anna Burrage made it all the way to the final round before being ousted by Italian 15th seed Lucrezia Stefanini. Burrage, the top seed in qualifying, fell to an agonising 7-6(5) 7-6(3) defeat, ending her 11-match winning streak.
Neither gender fared too well in the main draw either: Katie Swan and Emily Appleton, the former seeded 6th at the event, both lost in the first round. Swan fell to American 14-year-old Caty McNally in a result which compounds a poor three weeks on the junior circuit for the 16-year-old – the Brit won just two of her five games on the junior clay court circuit in the past month; she was won 6 from 11 on the senior tour so far this year, and should focus her attention in that direction, it seems. Appleton fell victim to a tough draw, going down 6-3 6-4 to fourth seed Anastasia Potapova of Russia.
In the Boys’ draw, there were two more first round straight sets defeats: Jay Clarke, who just missed out on a seeding at junior #17, played junior #13 and 13th seed Yibing Wu of China on Sunday. Clarke narrowly missed out on taking the first set before a single break separated the pair in the second set, Clarke going down 7-6(5) 6-4. Earlier today, Ryan Storrie fell 7-6(8) 6-1 to Louis Wessels of Germany, another highly ranked unseeded player at #19 in the junior rankings.
Let’s hold off our judgement on the juniors for now; it’s at Junior Wimbledon that we’ll be hoping they make the best impression.
In other action elsewhere, only two Brits remain in Grade 5 action after a string of poor results. In Moldova, Girls Ellen Cramer-Todd and Alessandra Ruggieri both fell in qualifying, while 4th seed Emile Hudd was beaten in the first round by Romanian Eugen Durnescu. Only Harry Butler, who is seeded third, remains in contention, after two straight sets victories took him to the quarter-finals. He now plays seventh seed Filip Jianu.
Meanwhile, in Albania, Sebastian Tong and Daniel Vishnick both made the main draw, but Vishnick fell 6-3 6-4 against 4th seed Guido Marson of Italy. Tong, however, took on Albanian wildcard Elio Kalushi and won 6-0 6-0, setting up a second round meeting with 15-year-old Serbian Bodin Zarkovic.