With mother nature on side, the first round of the Optus 12s Australian Championships was able to get underway at Melbourne Park.
Entering the 12s event as top seed and having recently found success through his New Zealand team’s victory in the 12s Teams Championship, Macsen Sisam is set to be a force to be reckoned with.
In the morning, he found himself up against a determined Ken Cavrak who forced Sisam to fight for the first set 7-5, delivering some solid returns.
Into the second set, however, it became overwhelmingly apparent that Sisam’s consistency and agility would see him into the next round, closing out the match 7-5 6-2.
While the majority of the seeded 12/U boys claimed their matches, there were a few notable upsets.
Following a somewhat disappointing 6-1 loss in the first set, Santokh Bains challenged 13th seed Mark Papadopoulos long into a three setter that lasted just short of two-and-a-half hours.
The boys ran each other from side to side, both searching for a weakness during the countless long rallies.
Remarkably, it was unseeded Santokh who was able to change the pace of the match in his favour to secure a 6-1 5-7 6-4 win.
Also advancing to the second round will be Oliver Douglas who overwhelmed Marcus Bulmaga, seed 12, 6-4 6-4, and Rocco Taplin who comfortably defeated 16th seed Joshua Spaull in straight sets 6-2 6-3.
Come late morning, as the boys’ matches began finishing, the 12/U girls hit the courts to showcase their talent.
On court 14 was first seed Jeanette Lin playing Jenna Shreeve. Despite a powerful first serve that at times proved too fast for Lin to return, Shreeve found it difficult to to hold her service games.
Lin aimed for the lines with her ground strokes and used her deep cutting forehand to push Shreeve behind the baseline. A strong 6-0 6-1 result ensured the top seed a position in Tuesday’s round of matches.
Confident second seed Daniela Kovacevic hit off against Julia Khamula, delivering several fierce crosscourt forehand winners.
The versatile nature of her play was highly indicative of her seeding as she displayed no fear in venturing from the baseline to the net to finish with some intimidating volley points. It was not long before Kovacevic closed out the match 6-0 6-1.
Violet Apisah, seeded third, did not face too many challenges in overcoming Jasmin Starr 6-2 6-2.
“At the start I just played flat but then I knew I had to change my game and put more topspin on the ball,” she reflected.
Following in the footsteps of her aunt, 20-year-old Abigail Tere-Apisah who reached a career high ranking of 124 in 2009, Apisah is aspiring to achieve high results in her own tennis career.
In a two-and-a-half hour showdown, fourth seed Olivia Gadecki and Caitlin Ward battled it out on Court 6 to secure victory.
Lifting herself back up after being down in the first set 5-7, fourth seed Gadecki was eager to snatch back command of the match.
Posing an aggressive, driving topspin forehand and sending Ward lobs deep at the baseline bouncing too high for her to return, Gadecki successfully clinched the epic match 5-7 6-1 6-3.
As in the boys’ draw where the highly seeded players progressed to the next round, the highly seeded girls similarly controlled their matches.
An unseeded Taylah Mielczarek, however, defeated 16th seed Sanyukta Singh 6-0 6-4, and Gabriella Da Silva-Fick prevailed over 13th seed Alessia Roso with a 6-4 6-4 win.
Originally published at Tennis Australia.