ITF Juniors wrap: Samsonova reaches quarters in Monastir

CZECH 15-year-old Laura Samsonova headlines the ITF Juniors wrap for the first week of February after the 2008-born young gun reached the quarter finals of the W15 event in Monastir. Turning 16 in March, the Junior Girls’ world number four picked up a couple of wins along the way, including a double-bagel of another youngster.

Samsonova raced through the opening two rounds of the event in Tunisia, dropping just four games, all of which came in her first round appearance against German Chantal Sauvant. The 15-year-old was flawless against world number 69 Josy Daems, winning 6-0 6-0 to reach the quarter finals.

From there, Samsonova ran into her toughest opponent yet, second seeded American Hina Inoue. Though she performed well in the first set, ultimately she was broken in each set to be the key difference, going down 7-5 6-3.

Samsonova was among three players who took to the court in Monastir with Daems getting a win before her double-bagel in the opening round, while Spanish world number 81, Ruth Roura Llaverias. Llaverias defeated 18-year-old Slovakian qualifier Irina Balus, 7-5 7-6 in the first round in an entertaining clash between the teenagers.

Japanese top talent Sara Saito had a big run at the W75 event in Burnie, reaching the final before owing out to second seed Australian, Priscilla Hon. After not dropping a set for the entire tournament en route to the final, the junior world number five bowed out 6-3 6-0. Her wins along the way include compatriot Aoi Ito and Australian Destanee Aiava.

Also in Burnie, Maya Joint went down in a heartbreaking third set tiebreaker to Japanese qualifier Ena Shibahara. The Aussie went toe-for-toe with the 25-year-old, but lost 12-10 in the deciding tiebreak after splitting the first two sets 6-4. She caught the eye with a blistering 6-2 6-2 performance against fourth seed Jaimee Fourlis.

Unfortunately world number one and Australian Open Junior Girls champion Renata Jamrichova retired hurt in the second set of her first round match.

The other major Junior in action over the past week was Czech Republic’s Alina Korneeva. The 16-year-old made it through qualifying in the WTA 250 event in Thailand, but went down to China’s Yafan Wang who ended up reaching the semi-finals. Korneeva lost 6-2 6-4 only winning the 58 and 50 per cent of her first and second serve points, as Wang triumphed in 75 per cent of her first serve points and broke four times to one.

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