New York, USA – The last South African left in the US Open, Philip Henning lost in round two of the Junior Championships in New York late Tuesday.
Photo credit: BLD Communications
Henning, the 17-year-old Grey College Bloemfontein learner is the country’s highest ranked world junior. He did himself and his country proud by putting on a brave fight against the world’s number one junior player Chun Hsin Tseng of Chinese Taipei losing in three sets. Tseng beat Henning 5-7 6-1 6-0.
In hot and humid conditions, Henning lost serve twice and found himself 0-5 down in the opening set. The South African regrouped and lifted his game, broke back and won four games in a row to trail 4-5. The extreme heat policy was then called and the players had to leave court. After 2 hrs 30 minutes the player returned to court and Henning broke serve again and won three games in a row to take the opening set 7-5.
But Tseng then stormed back to win the match in the second and the deciding sets 6-1, 6-0.
Despite the score line, Tseng was made to work in the second set, facing break points in nearly every one of his service games.
After winning the boys singles’ titles at the French Open and Wimbledon earlier this season, Tseng is bidding to become the first player to win three junior grand slam tournaments in one year since Gael Monfils in 2004.
MC Olivier, coach of Philip Henning said that Tseng played the big points well. “The biggest difference was the big points. Tseng is a great player and although Philip created opportunities, he just wasn’t able to capitalize on them. I am really proud of Philip. He fought hard and proved he can compete with the best in the world.”
Henning said it was a tough match. “I didn’t start well, honestly I was nervous and when I was 0-5 down I found my rhythm and played well. I was just let down a bit by my first serve percentage which I need to improve, but Tseng is a great player and although I only won one game in the last two sets, I had break point opportunities, lots of chances and just never capitalised on them. Tseng is the best junior player on the planet, I respect him enormously but was proud to have given him a good fight.”
Earlier Henning also lost in the doubles with his partner, Dostanbek Tashbulatov of Kazakhstan. They went down in straight sets 3-6 4-6 to French youngsters, Arthur Cazaux and Harold Mayot.