They are two juniors, their names are Meshkatolzahra Safi and Angella Okutoyi and regardless of how far they go, how far they go in this Australian Open, their names have already been recorded in history. While the crossovers of the quarterfinals of the men’s and women’s circuit, ATP and WTA, were definitively outlined, the two young players left their mark on the opening of the tournament of promises. Both became the first tennis players from their country, Iran and Kenya respectively, to win a Grand Slam match in the category.
Safi, 17, plays with her head, legs and arms covered by the imposition of her religion, despite temperatures in Melbourne these days exceeding 30 degrees. In her debut she beat Australian Nayar 6-4, 6-3, and will face Costoulas in the second round. His victory entails another prize, he will now access the top-100 of the juniors, another historical record for his country that no one had achieved. In Iran, tennis is a sport with little tradition, and until now its greatest exponent has been Mansour Bahrami, who also had French nationality and was a doubles finalist at Roland Garros in 1989.
“It was a big step, the biggest of my career,” Safi explained after her victory, in words collected by the WTA. “To get to this point, I went through difficult times because playing professional tennis in my country is very complicated. I had a hard time playing tournaments, getting visas and not having sponsors many times. To other young people like me, I tell them not to give up on their dreams,” added the Iranian who participated in an International Federation (ITF) project in Karaj.
Okutoyi, meanwhile, had previously been installed in the top 100. At the age of 17, she was able to beat the Italian Urgesi and will face the local Larke. The victory was much celebrated in his country. The Sports Minister and other members of the Kenyan government echoed their success on social media. Susan Wakhungu (Wimbledon 1978) and Christian Vitulli (US Open 2005) had previously competed in major junior tournaments but failed to win.
“Being able to participate in a Grand Slam is a dream. An experience, because you only come once a year. I am very proud to be where I am,” Okutoyi, 17, said.
They, Safi and Okutoyi, made history in the juniors while in the main draw, the French Alizé Cornet starred in the bell of the day by eliminating the Romanian Simona Halep 6-4, -36 and 6-3. The gala, 31 years old and who dropped Garbiñe Muguruza in the second round, reached the quarterfinals of a major. Next to her was the American Danielle Collins (4-6, 6-4 and 6-4 to Elise Mertens).
In the men’s draw, the Russian Daniil Medvedev had to work for victory against Maxime Cressy (6-2, 7-6(4), 6-7(4) and 7-5) and Félix Auger-Aliassime eliminated Marin Cilic ( 2-6, 7-6(7), 6-2 and 7-6(4) Both will be measured for a place in the semifinals.
Check the Results and the order of play.
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