The U18 Australian Championships has kicked off on Monday at the Melbourne Park, with 16 juniors fighting for the title and the place in the Australian Open qualifying draw. In Group A, Connor Johnson defeated the top seed Jayden Court 7-6 7-6 for his first win of the tournament, leaving Court at the bottom of the group with no chances of reaching the quarters. The 7th seed and the last year's champion Alexander Crnokrak has secured the place in the quarters after a commanding 6-0 6-3 win over Campbell Salmon in an hour and 19 minutes, losing just six games in the first two matches.
The 2nd seed Rinky Hijikata stayed on the winning course, toppling the 8th seed Chen Dong 7-5 6-2 in the clash of the players who won the opening round matches. Alex Bulte beat Thomas Bosancic 6-4 7-5 and Thomas was forced to withdraw from the event, replaced by a lucky loser in the last round robin match against Dong.
The 3rd seed Dane Sweeny needed less than an hour to oust Ken Cavrak 6-3 6-2 to reach the quarters from Group C, with Stefan Storch scoring a 6-4 6-4 win over Sean Van Rensburg to stay in contention for the place in the last eight.
Matthew Dellavedova was forced to retire against Tom Evans while trailing 6-1 1-0, with Evans securing the spot in the quarters. In the second match, the 4th seed Tristan Schoolkate had to dig deep to prevail against Oliver Douglas 3-6 7-5 6-4 in just under two and a half hours, seeking the quarter-final berth against Dellavedova on Wednesday.
“I’m feeling pretty confident at the moment,” said Hijikata. “I’ve been training really hard before I came down to Melbourne. I’ve had a good preparation and been working hard physically.”Second day round robin results:
Alexander Crnokrak vs Campbell Salmon 6-0 6-3
Connor Johnson vs vs Jayden Court 7-6(9) 7-6(4)
Rinky Hijikata vs Chen Dong 7-5 6-2
Alex Bulte vs Thomas Bosancic 6-4 7-5
Stefan Storch vs Sean Van Rensburg 6-4 6-4
Dane Sweeny vs Ken Cavrak 6-3 6-2
Tom Evans vs Matthew Dellavedova 6-1 1-0 Ret.
Tristan Schoolkate vs Oliver Douglas 3-6 7-5 6-4