Melbourne, Australia, 22 January 2012 | David Packman

Update 9:25 pm. Sunday saw the commencement of the Junior Boys’ and Girls’ Singles Championships at Australian Open 2012. Under bright blues skies and brilliant sunshine, 18 Australians took to the courts for their opening round encounters, providing plenty of action for local fans hoping to check out how the future of Australian tennis stacked up on the global stage.

Of the higher seeds, Melbourne boy Andrew Harris, seeded sixth in this event, found himself in a tense affair against Croatia’s Filip Veger, eventually coming out on top 6-2 3-6 6-4. After Harris comfortably took the opening set, the Croat lifted his game significantly in the second, setting the stage for an exciting finish.

In the end, it was the Australian who stood firm. Despite going a break down early, Harris hung tough and used his strong forehand to give himself plenty of opportunities, and it was enough to see him through the next stage.

“It was very tough out there,” said Harris.

“Hot and humid. But I dug deep. I am obviously very happy with the way things turned out.”

Harris next plays Wayne Montgomery, and he will be hoping to turn the tables, as the South African recently got the better of him in at the Traralgon International lead-up event.

In the most dramatic battle of the day, Australian wildcard Daniel Guccione – cousin of established tour player Chris – reached match point before being toppled by Spain’s Pol Toledo Bague 6-4 0-6 8-6. Despite the loss, fifteen year-old Guccione was impressive with his power game, at times serving over 220km/h, a mark only reached by a select few in the men’s game, let alone at a junior level.

No.13 seed Nick Kyrgios of the ACT, who enjoyed a quarterfinal finish at the Australian Open Wildcard Play-off in December, continued his solid form today with a demolition of Korea’s Jae Hwan Kim, 6-1 6-2, in just over an hour. The sixteen year-old has a bucketload of potential and might just be the dark horse in this event.

“[Kim] is a very solid player, he doesn’t miss much, so I knew I had to serve big,” said Kyrgios.

“I was really aggressive today. I thought I played pretty well.”

In other positive Australian results, wildcard Chris O’Connell stunned Slovakian Patrik Fabian in straight sets 6-3 6-4, while in the girls event, another wildcard in West Australian Storm Sanders outclassed Kathinka von Deichmann from Lichtenstein, 7-5 6-4.

After staring down the barrel at 4-5 and 0-30 in the first set, Sanders said afterwards she was happy with the way she had stayed in the match.

“I made her work for every ball. In the end, I just think I was more solid than her,” she said.

In other results, Sydneysider Abbie Myers, a talented right-hander currently ranked 57 in the ITF Junior rankings, found herself in a tense battle with Romanian qualifier Ioana Loredana Rosca. After twice missing opportunities to serve out the match in the third set – and even holding two match points – she eventually succumbed 4-6 6-3 7-5.

Fourteen year-old Sara Tomic, younger sister of top-ranked Australian Bernard and a wildcard in this event, unfortunately met her match in American Christina Makarova, going down 6-2 6-2.

Local wildcard Priscilla Hon played extremely well to take tenth-seeded Romanian Ilka Csoregi to three tight sets before going down 3-6 7-6(5) 6-3.