Juniors wrap: Jimenez Kasintseva, Mayot earn AO2020 glory

  • Gillian Tan

Victoria Jimenez Kasintseva, 14, is the first player from Andorra to win a Grand Slam title after capturing the Australian Open 2020 junior girls’ singles crown.

The ninth seed defeated Poland’s Weronika Baszak 5-7 6-2 6-2 in two hours and four minutes in a match that saw both players land 70 per cent or more of their first serves in. 

“I actually never thought that I would be here so I’m very happy right now,” she said during the trophy ceremony.

Later, in her post-match interview, the Barcelona-based Andorran – who clinched six victories including Saturday’s championship match – said she didn’t think she’d win the title. 

“I was about to lose in some matches, and I just kept fighting,” said Jimenez Kasintseva, who saved three match points in her third-round win 3-6 7-6(7) 7-6(7) three-hour win over Italy’s Melania Delai and recovered from a slow start in her quarterfinals to upset American second seed Robin Montgomery 1-6 7-5 6-2.

The youngest player in the draw, who made a winning Grand Slam debut, told ausopen.com earlier this week she admires fellow left-handers Rafael Nadal and Petra Kvitova

Jimenez Kasintseva said she first picked up a racquet, aged three, and three years later started training with her father and coach, Joan Jimenez, who reached a career-high ATP Tour ranking of 505 in 1999.

Her opponent, 17-year-old Baszak, has a few more chances to capture a Grand Slam title in 2020. 

“I’m counting [on] Wimbledon this year, I love playing on the grass,” she said, adding that she intends to join the WTA Tour after the US Open.

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Victoria Jimenez Kasintseva and Weronika Baszak embrace after the final

Separately, France’s Harold Mayot’s name has been engraved on the same trophy previously lifted by countryman Gael Monfils as well as major champions including Stefan Edberg and Andy Roddick.

The 17-year-old – who is already 177cm tall - defeated his friend and doubles partner Arthur Cazaux 6-4 6-1 to claim the Australian Open 2020 junior boys’ singles title.

“It's an amazing feeling to win here in Australia,” said Mayot, who relished the opportunity to compete at Rod Laver Arena. 

“It means a lot to me."

“He just was too good today on this court,” said fifth seed Cazaux, who described playing on a court the size of RLA as a great experience. 

Mayot, living up to his No.1 seeding, never faced a break point during the match. Still, he’s plotting a budding rivalry with Cazaux as their careers progress. 

“I hope to play against him for the biggest trophies,” said Mayot, who has practiced with French players including 2008 finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and 2016 quarterfinalist Gael Monfils. 

While he’ll compete for the Roland Garros junior boys’ title to add to the silverware he’s picked up in Melbourne, Mayot plans to compete on the professional tour this year.