Montgomery wins tough opener
Wayne Montgomery (Photo: Mario Van De Wall)
Cape Town - The three South African junior players representing the country in the Junior Australian Open had mixed fortunes as the tournament started this weekend.
The top-ranked South African on the world rankings, Wayne Montgomery of Somerset West, won his match.
But lady luck turned her back on Ilze Hattingh and Madrie le Roux in the girls singles, and both were beaten in the opening round.
Montgomery, ranked 8 in the world and seeded 7 in Melbourne, had a tough first round match, but managed to defeat unseeded Harry Bourchier of Australia, 7-6, 1-6, 9-7.
Montgomery needed just over two and a half hours to win his match and saved seven set points in the opening set and a match point in the third set before winning through.
"I really struggled with timing out there today as the courts were much faster than last week's warm up event. I must confess I didn't play my best tennis, but a win is a win even though it was ugly," said Montgomery after his victory.
Allan Karam, South African coach with the juniors, said Montgomery played a real "gutsy" game and "grinded" all the way through the match.
Pretoria's Ilze Hattingh impressed in her match against world No 2 and second seed, Katerina Siniakova of Czech Republic, but was beaten by the Czech, 6-3, 2-6, 4-6.
Hattingh had many opportunities on serve, but struggled to win the big points throughout the two hour twenty two minute battle.
Madrie Le Roux of Uniondale in the Western Cape took her unseeded opponent, Fiona Ferro of France, to three sets before bowing out 6-7, 6-3, 3-6.
The next hurdle for Montgomery is the French junior champion, Quentin Halys.
Though ranked only 40 in the world, Halys favours the hard courts and with his big serve and ground-stroke game could pose a real challenge for the young South African.
"Halys is a real streaky player which will make it tough for Wayne to get any rhythm. He is an aggressive all court player with decent movement around the court.
"Wayne will have to return well, vary the pace and placement and not give the Frenchman a lot to work with. Wayne's counter punching game must be aggressive and consistent," said Karam.
"It's going to be a real "slug fest" and hard match but Wayne is fired up for the challenge."