THE 2024 AGL Loy Yang Traralgon Junior International is in full swing, and what a start to the competition we’ve had already.

Note that this update will provide results to games played up until Sunday, January 14 to meet print deadlines, a full wrap of the Traralgon Junior International will be in next week’s issue.

International: Around 40 countries have been represented in Traralgon. Photograph: Tom Hayes

Throughout the three days of competition we’ve seen so far, a number of top seed players have been eliminated, opening the gates for some underdogs – and who doesn’t want to see that?


Boys’ Singles

TO begin things in the boys, the biggest shock of them all was the exit of No. 1 seed and reigning champion, Federico Cina, in the third round.

Cina was making inroads toward a second consecutive junior title in Traralgon, defeating first round opponent Nicolas Oliviera 6-0, 6-1, and second round opponent from Australia, Jonas Hahn 6-3, 6-3.

But the Italian met his match in the third round, going down to the Dutch Mees Rottgering in straight sets 6-4, 7-6.

This leaves the No. 2 seed from Norway, Nicolai Budkov Kjaer, as the next best suitor, easing through his first three rounds, only dropping one set at the time of print.

A handful of upsets were witnessed in the opening three days of the main draw, with No. 3 seed, Tomasz Berkieta from Poland knocked out in the opening round in straight sets, USA’s No. 5 seed Kaylan Bigun retired in his opening match, No. 7 seed Maxim Mrva from the Czech Republic saw the door in round one, and 8th seed at the tournament Oliver Bonding representing Great Britain also bundled out of the competition in the first round.

The doors were blown wide open, with South Korea’s No. 9 seed Jangjun Kim sustaining a third-round exit, while Czech Republic’s No. 10 seed Petr Brunclik also exited in the third round.

Speaking of those who can still win it, only four seeded players remain, including No. 2 seed Kjaer.

Japan’s Rei Sakamoto, No. 4 seed, has also only dropped just one set to last Sunday, defeating his round two and three opponents in straight sets.

He will face No. 6 seed from the US, Alexander Razeghi, who is yet to lose a set, winning all matches quite comfortably, setting up an interesting quarter final tie.

A couple of Australians boys still remain in the draw, and have impressed so far, progressing through to the quarter finals comprising two of the final eight spots.

Australian number 14 seed, Pavle Marinkov, has won his first three games in straight sets, defeating Timofei Derepasko 6-3, 6-1 in the first round, then Jan Kumstat 6-4, 6-3 in the second round, before defeating William Rejchtman Vinciguerra in the third round 6-2, 7-6.

Queensland’s Hayden Jones has had to do it the hard way, starting off against No. 8 seed, Bonding, he won in three sets, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4.

He eased past his second-round opponents Maxwell Exsted 6-1, 6-2, before facing No. 11 seed Charlie Camus, defeating him in straight sets to progress to the final eight, 6-2, 6-2.

Wildcard entry and son of Lleyton Hewitt, Cruz Hewitt, moved into the second round after No. 5 seed Bigun retired in the third set.

But Hewitt was undone in the second round going down to Kazakhstan’s Danial Rakhmatullayev in straight sets 6-3, 7-5.

Rakhmatullayev is still in the hunt, and is yet to drop a set, after dismissing the No. 9 seed Jangjun Kim in the third round.

Son of the women’s former World No. 1 Lindsay Davenport, Jagger Leach, could only go as far as the first round, going down in straight sets to Kumstat.


Girls’ Singles

WITH eight competitors left in girls draw, only one can be crowned champion.

The No. 1 seed, Great Britain’s Hannah Klugman, ran into some trouble in her third-round match, losing the first set 6-2 to Aspen Schuman of the US. The Brit fought through a tough contest to win the next set 7-5 and showed her class in the decider, only giving up one game to Schuman.

Klugman will play Japan’s Wanka Sonobe, the tournament’s No.8 seed, in the quarter-final.

This one will be a game to watch, given Sonobe’s near-perfect form leading into the quarters.

The final Australian left in the draw, Emerson Jones has been doing her country proud on home soil, the No.2 seed has dominated her opponents in the opening rounds. First, defeating Italian Francesca Gandolfi 6-0, 6-3, and then breezing through German Julia Stusek 6-2, 6-3.

Aussie Aussie Aussie: With Hannah Klugman and Emerson Jones (left) on different sides of the draw, there’s a good chance the pair could face off in the Final. Photograph: Zaida Glibanovic

Jones’ forehand and strength on serve have ripped through her opponent’s defences so far, but the Gold Coast girl will have a tougher match up in the quarter final coming up against No. 5 seed American Tyra Caterina Grant.

The daughter of American former basketball player Tyrone Grant has been a solid competitor since her first round match against Australian wildcard Giselle Guillen.

World-class: American Tyra Grant played the No.2 seed from the Gold Coast, Emerson Jones, in the quarter final on Monday, January 15. Photograph: Zaida Glibanovic

Grant blazed through the opening set of her tournament campaign, winning 6-1, but the young Aussie put Grant to the test in the second set, levelling with the American 6-3.

In the deciding set, Grant reasserted her dominance with that strong forehand to close out the match 6-1.

Since then, Grant has been one to watch; with some talented drop shots and a clinical tenacity, the young American stormed through her last two rounds, losing only three or fewer games per set.

Grant’s American counterpart, Iva Jovic, the No. 4 seed in Traralgon, has been impressive.

Despite a shaky start losing her first set of the tournament to Julie Pastikova, the young gun bounced back rather quickly.

Jovic will take on an underated Yelyzaveta Kotliar of Ukraine in the quarter final.

In a huge shock, No.3 seed Czechian Alena Kovackova fell out of contention when she lost her second-round match against Bulgarian Yoana Konstantinova.

This quarter is playing out to be quite the exciting mix with no-big guns left in this side of the draw, perhaps it could be the break-out game for either the Russian Daria Egorova or Monika Stankiewicz from Poland.