23 Mar 2019

Silver medallist the previous day alongside Giulia Takahashi in the junior girls’ team event, on the third day of play at the 2019 Chile Junior and Cadet Open in Santiago, Brazil’s Laura Watanabe was very much the player to attract the attention.

The no.2 seed, she duly finished in first place in her cadet girls’ singles group as anticipated but it was in the junior girls’ singles competition where she shone; the 14 year old started the day the lowest rated player in her group, she finished the day unbeaten and thus in top spot.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

Impressively she accounted for Peru’s Alessandra Cisneros (11-5, 12-10, 11-13, 11-9) and Chile’s Natasha Ruiz (11-6, 8-11, 12-14, 11-1, 11-8), before overcoming Claudia Infante, the no.8 seed and also from Chile (11-7, 11-8, 3-11, 11-5) to secure first place in the group.

Alas, for Claudia Infante it was her second defeat of the day, earlier she had suffered at the hands of Alessandra Cisneros (7-11, 11-8, 11-4, 8-11, 12-10) and thus finished in third place; Alessandra Cisneros duly concluded matters in runners up spot and thus progressed to the main draw.

Otherwise in the junior girls’ singles first stage it was first place for the leading names, the only players to be tested being Canada’s Benita Zhou, the no.5 seed and Tamyres Fukase, the no.7 seed, like Laura Watanabe from Brazil. Benita Zhou needed the full five games to beat Peru’s Maria Maldonado (8-11, 11-7, 13-11, 11-6, 11-7), as did Tamyres Fukase when facing Chile’s Jerusalen Flores (11-5, 6-11, 11-13, 11-7, 11-9). Notably both Maria Maldonado and Jerusalen Flores finished their respective groups in second place.

Testing times for Benita Zhou and Tamyres Flores, for the remaining leading names there were no such troubles. Paraguay’s Leyla Gomez, Ecuador’s Nathaly Paredes and Brazil’s Livia Lima duly finished in first positions in their respective groups without due alarm, as did Chile’s Valentina Rios and Natalie Ramos.

Somewhat differently in the cadet girls’ singles event there were three surprise first places; contrary to expectations, Chile’s Constanza Mesas, Ecuador’s Maria Borja and Peru’s Ana Aragon concluded matters in top spots.

In the remaining groups it was first position as anticipated, in addition to Laura Watanabe, Giulia Takahashi, Maria Maldonado and Chile’s Sofia Perez concluded matters at the head of the list.

The main draw in both the junior girls’ singles and cadet girls’ singles events commences on Saturday 23rd March.

World Junior Circuit 2019 Chile Junior & Cadet Open Laura Watanabe

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