October 27, 2020

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Juniors update: CRM out, FAA in, BVA rolling

MELBOURNE, Australia – Disappointment from the first day for Blainville, Que.’s Charlotte Robillard-Millette.

The 17-year-old was defeated in the first round of the singles Sunday by a Russian-Italian-Monte Carlan named Ludmilla Samsonova 6-7 (4) 61 64.

Robillard-Millette was in third gear and cruising as her athletic-looking opponent (nice service motion) had trouble keeping the ball in the court. The margin on some of the double faults was epic. She was up 5-2 … and then …

Robillard-Millette managed to pull out the first set. The second went quickly. She was down in the third, got it caught back up to 4-4, and then. pffft.

It should be noted that the Canadian played Samsonova last week at the Traralgon warmup tournament, and defeated her 6-3, 6-2.

Here’s what it looked like up close.

Spotted courtside for the match … Milos Raonic’s coach Riccardo Piatti.

Piatti

Piatti, who works with Samsonova, said the Russian-Italian lived near Monte Carlo, where he is based. He’s  impressed with her talent but said she lacks a little experience. She’s definitely a neophyte at the junior Slam level although she’s played plenty of juniors; she added that experience this week.

As for Robillard-Millette’s good friend Félix Auger-Aliassime, he had a decent test in the first round, but prevailed against Andres Gabriel Ciurletti of Italy 6-4, 6-4.

Ciurletti was up 4-3 and had love-40 on Auger-Aliassime’s serve to break and serve for the set, but the Canadian prevailed.

Ciurletti is another transplanted Italian; he’s an Argentine who had issues with that federation (according to my press-room neighbour, Raul de Kemmeter) and felt compelled to use his dual citizenship to his advantage.

Here’s what that looked like.

Auger-Aliassime had a long day; although he was third on his court, he didn’t get under way in singles until around 6 p.m. (the start is 11 a.m.) and then played doubles, starting about 8:30 p.m.

The doubles, with countryman and fellow national centre trainee Jack Lin, did NOT go well. They lost 6-3, 6-4 to Calin Manda of Romania and
Louis Tessa of France, who looked as though they didn’t deserve to be on the same court at first. Serving and mostly staying back, with one of them (can’t remember which was which) so close to the net with his partner was serving – even on second serves – it’s amazing the Canadian kids didn’t lob him like mofos. It’s equally amazing that except for one close call, the kid didn’t get one in the face because the reaction time from there was practically zero.

But the Canadians didn’t play well. At all. And the Romanian-French combo started tracking down a whole lot of balls that didn’t get put away – from the baseline, of course, but they still hustled. Not a good day for the Canuckians. Here’s what it looked like.

Bianca Andreescu, the No. 1 seed in the singles, rolled in her first-rounder against a lucky loser Sunday, and she and Robillard-Millette won their first-round doubles match.

Katherine Sebov, the third Canadian girl here and also seeded at No. 15, had an easy first-round singles match, but dropped a tight one in doubles with partner Vera Lapko of Belarus. The No. 3 seeds were upset by I-Hsuan Cho of Taipei and Ayumi Miyamoto of Japan 6-7 (4) 6-4 [10-5].

It was kind of looking like this at the end for Sebov.

Sebov

More action on Monday.