Cody Wong’s run in the girls』 doubles together with Burundi’s world No. 20 Sada Nahimana at the Roland Garros Junior Championships was finally halted in the quarterfinals by No. 7 seed Park Sohyun and Adrienn Nagy in straight sets, 6-4, 6-4. The Hong Kong-Burundian first-time partnership had earlier avoided elimination in the opening round when they saved a pair of match points late in the third set super-tiebreak to beat Americans Charlotte Chavatipon and Charlotte Owensby, 6-1, 3-6, [15-13].
「We didn’t play as consistently as our opponents today. We have to do better than that to win at this level,」 said Cody. 「Had a great time in Europe, have learned a lot, especially here at Roland Garros. Just want to say thanks to all my friends, coaches, and my family for all the support. Going to get ready for grass next!」
Park is ranked No. 23 and together with Nagy, captured last December’s Orange Bowl G18 doubles title. Earlier this season, the Korean played alongside Cody at the Australian Open where the pair was seeded No. 1. Just a fortnight ago, Park and Sada Nahimana teamed up to reach the final of the Grade A Italian International Junior Championships in Milan.
The 26th-ranked Nagy, on the other hand, managed to reach four Grade A doubles finals in the past six months, finishing runner-up at the Copa Yucatan and then bagging the Orange Bowl, Australian, and Italian Championship titles.
In the opening set, Park and Nagy broke first to lead 3-2 only to see Cody and Sada return the favour immediately to force a 3-3 impasse. However, the No. 7 seed was on the move again and this time, they managed to break back and consolidate thereafter for 5-3 before holding with conviction to take the set, 6-4.
The ensuing set saw Park and Nagy trigger the action by securing a break to go up 3-1 even though Cody and Sada did well to ward off a couple of break points initially. Then, in the seventh game, the Korean-Hungarian duo produced a second break to jump out to a whopping 5-2 lead.
The Hong Kong-Burundian combo made a last-ditch stand and brushed aside a match point to break back for 5-3 before saving another pair the following game to hold on precariously for 5-4. However, the No. 7 seed again delivered a strong service game when it mattered most and held without much fanfare for a 6-4, 6-4, victory.
According to RolandGarros.com’s 「Infosys Stats+」, which shows statistics according to their disproportionate influence on a match, the most telling stat was Break Points Won, which tallied 4 of 6 (67%) for Park and Nagy, but only 2 of 6 (33%) for Cody and Sada. This was followed by Win % On 2nd Serve, where Park and Nagy registered 10 of 18 (56%), while Cody and Sada were 10 of 26 (38%).
In the previous round, Cody and Sada traded blows right from the get go with No. 2 seed Joanna Garland of Chinese Taipei and Colombia’s María Camila Osorio, who are ranked No. 18 and No. 9 respectively in the ITF World Tennis Tour Junior Rankings.
Neither team was able to gain any real momentum in the early going until 5-5, when Cody and Sada saved a break point before holding for 6-5. They then broke their opposition to 15 the very next game to wrestle the opener, 7-5. Prior to the start of the second, the No. 2 seed retired from the match with Osorio citing a shoulder issue, thereby paving the way for the HK-Burundian duo to move on to the quarters.
In the first round of the girls』 singles, Cody saved 12 of 15 break points to beat world No. 37 Liubov Kostenko of Ukraine, 6-3, 6-3, to secure her first career win in the Roland Garros maindraw. Last year, she got in as a lucky-loser but ran into No. 11 seed Zheng Qinwen of China in the first round.
In the second round, Osorio went ahead first by breaking for 3-1, but Cody produced successive breaks and won the next three games to regain the lead, 4-3. The Hong Kong No. 1 then had two game points for a 5-3 lead serving at 40-15 but she could not capitalise and got broken. The world No. 9 from Colombia would hold and break again to steal the set, 6-4.
After the players exchanged an early break, Cody managed to reel off four successive games from 3-2 down to take the second 6-3. Unfortunately for Cody, she was slowed down by cramps in the third and Maria Camila Osorio, who owns a WTA singles ranking of No. 338, took advantage of the situation and ran away with a 6-4, 3-6, 6-1 victory to move on to the third round.
Osorio went all the way to the semifinals before she went down against Canadian top seed Leylah Fernandez.
「Probably my best match here so far,」 said Cody. 「I didn’t try to think too much and just went out there and competed. Still, I feel disappointed because I should have taken the first set but overall, I played good tennis, so no regrets. I was so much more consistent compared to my previous matches here last year.」
Cody is making progress after a shoulder injury at the Australian Open sidelined her for some three months until mid-April when she made a triumphant return to tour by beating top-seeded world No. 32 Thasaporn Naklo, 6-1, 3-6, 7-6(5), to capture the ITF Grade 3 Kuala Lumpur girls』 singles title.
In the coming weeks, she has to transition herself to grasscourt tennis, as all roads now lead to The Junior Championships, Wimbledon.
French Open Junior Championships
Stade Roland Garros, Paris
June 2-8, 2019
Cody Wong (HKG) d. Liubov Kostenko (UKR) 6-3 6-3
(3)Maria Camila Osorio (COL) d. Cody Wong (HKG) 6-4 3-6 6-1
Cody Wong/Sada Nahimana (HKG/BDI) d. Charlotte Chavatipon/Charlotte Owensby (USA) 6-1 3-6 [15-13]
Cody Wong/Sada Nahimana (HKG/BDI) d. (2)Joanna Garland/Maria Camila Osorio (TPE/COL) 7-5 Retired
(7)Park Sohyun/Adrienn Nagy (KOR/HUN) d. Cody Wong/Sada Nahimana (HKG/BDI) 6-4 6-4
Image: Martin Sidorjak / ArcK Photography