11 Apr 2019

Very much on the opening day of play, Wednesday 10th April, in the junior boys’ singles event at the 2019 French Junior and Cadet Open in Metz, local eyes focused on Lilian Bardet and Dorian Zheng.

However, when the day closed, they were out of focus, the camera lens was directed towards colleagues Thibault Baillet and Vincent Picard.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

A direct entry to the main draw, after accounting for Russia’s Kirill Fadeev (11-7, 8-11, 11-5, 11-4, 11-7), Lilian Bardet, the no.6 seed, experienced defeat at the hands of Japan’s Hiroto Shinozuka (8-11, 11-8, 11-8, 11-4, 11-9).

Similarly, not required to qualify, after overcoming Damir Akhmetsafin, like Kirill Fadeev from Russia (11-4, 11-6, 10-12, 11-5, 11-9), Dorian Zheng, the no.7 seed, suffered at the hands of Poland’s Maciej Kubik (6-11, 9-11, 11-5, 9-11, 11-6, 15-13, 11-7).

Maciej Kubik ended the hopes of Dorian Zheng (Photo: Jean-Denis Beucher)


Conversely, Vincent Picard who had finished in first place in his initial stage group, justified his status; the 10th highest rated player on duty, he accounted for fellow qualifiers, Poland’s Jan Zandecki (11-8, 9-11, 11-4, 11-3, 12-10) and the Czech Republic’s Radim Bako (11-7, 11-6, 11-9, 11-6) to reserve his third round berth.

However, pride of place went to Thibault Baillet; no current world ranking, the lowest rated player in his first phase group, he finished in second position, losing to Portugal’s Samuel da Silva (11-8, 11-3, 11-8). A place in the main draw, he excelled expectations. He overcame Gal Alguetti of the United States (12-10, 11-13, 11-8, 5-11, 8-11, 12-10, 11-8) and Finland’s Alex Naumi (10-12, 11-4, 11-9, 11-8, 15-13) to join Vincent Picard in round three.

Vincent Picard, safely through to round three of the junior boys’ singles event (Photo: Jérôme Henry)


Runners up spot and progress, it was the same for Nikhil Kumar of the United States, the young man who in early February had impressed at the Universal Pan American Cup in Puerto Rico. In the group phase he lost to Japan’s Hayate Suzuki (12-10, 11-9, 7-11, 11-7), his only defeat, a place in the main draw, he beat Germany’s Sven Hennig (11-5, 11-9, 11-7, 11-13, 11-4), prior to causing a major second round upset. Clearing learning from his defeat at the hands of Hayate Suzuki, he ended the hopes of Takeru Kashiwa, the no.8 seed (11-8, 12-10, 11-9, 13-11).

Defeats for the three players who completed the top eight seeds, for the top five, it was progress. Russia’s Lev Katsman and Maksim Grebnev duly booked their third round places as did Poland’s Samuel Kulczycki, Iran’s Amin Ahmadian and Germany’s Kay Stumper.

Kay Stumper untroubled on the opening day in Metz (Photo: Jérôme Henry)


Success for Lev Katsman and Maksim Grebnev apart, there was also success together; the top seeds, the duo prevailed in their opening round junior boys’ doubles engagement but it was close. They needed the full five games to beat Germany’s Mike Hollo and Daniel Rinderer (11-9, 10-12, 6-11, 11-6, 11-9).

Meanwhile, for the second seeds, in their opening contest, life was less traumatic; Lilian Bardet and Vincent Picard accounted for the combination of Puerto Rico’s Oscar Birriel and Ted Li of the United States.

Better news for Lilian Bardet in the men’s doubles event (Photo: Jérôme Henry)


Play in the individual events concludes on Thursday 11th April.


French Junior & Cadet Open: Photo Gallery

World Junior Circuit 2019 French Junior & Cadet Open Thibault Bailliet

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