by Marcia Frost, 4 February 2011
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American players made a great showing at the Australian Open Junior Championships, but in the end it was two tiny countries that claimed the crowns.
It's a long trip to Melbourne, Australia, and very few juniors from the U.S. did it. Of the handful of Americans in the Qualifying draw - Emmett Egger
, Shane Vinsant
, Mac Styslinger
, Miriam Ruth Lane
and Stephanie Hazell
- only Styslinger would make it through that event. The Birmingham, Alabama, native would over power three more opponents in Kyle Edmund
(Great Britain), Karim Hossam
(Egypt) and Nick Krygios (Australia) before falling in the quarterfinals to Spain's Roberto Carballes
, the draw's sixth seed.
Mitchell Krueger was impressive throughout the Australian Open Junior events as the Texan survived very close matches. The first was a win over fifth-seeded Joris De Loore of Belgium where, despite having set points at 5-4, Krueger needed a tiebreaker to win the first set, followed by yet another breaker to pull the upset. The 17 year old then survived two three setters over Matthias Wunner of Germany and Mark Richards of Australia before losing in the quarters to top-seeded Jiri Vesely of Serbia in a match that was much closer than the 6-2,6-2 score showed.
Vesely had also beaten Sean Berman, who grew up in the United States, but now plays under the Australian flag, in the previous round. Florida's Dennis Novikov, a Blue Chip senior, came close to upsetting second-seeded Dominic Thiem as he took a set off the Austrian in the first round, but Thiem quickly ended Novikov's tournament.