Melbourne, Australia, 23 January 2022 | Darren Parkin

Young Australians Taylah Preston, Zara Larke and Edward Winter have continued their strong starts to the year by advancing to the second round of Australian Open 2022 junior tournaments.

Preston, named Junior Female Athlete of the Year at the Australian Tennis Awards in 2021, kickstarted her new season in style, overpowering Patricija Paukstyte from the first point to the last.

The Western Australian breezed through her first-round match, claiming a 6-2 6-1 victory over the Lithuanian in less than an hour.

She struck 14 winners to six, and won 63 total points to 40, with five breaks of serve in an overall dominant display.

Preston earlier competed in the Australian Open qualifying tournament and the 16-year-old feels that experience has set her up nicely for the year ahead.

“Playing against some older and better players I think helped me a lot in preparing for the Traralgon tournament and this one as well,” Preston said.

With a plan this year to “get my ranking up so I can play all of the junior slams”, Preston also takes confidence from her success at the Australian Tennis Awards.

“It was a big honour to win that award, especially given some of the previous winners like Ash Barty, she commented.

“I hope I can go on to do similar things in my career.”

Zara Larke also progressed in a strong showing in the afternoon sun, prevailing 6-4 6-1 over Denmark’s Johanne Christine Svendsen.

Larke had chances to break in nearly every game of the first set, creating nine chances in all and converting twice as she always looked on top throughout.

She kept the foot down in the second set, capitalising on 13 unforced errors from Svendsen to break serve three more times as she ran away with the victory.

“I was able to keep composed when I couldn’t get those breaks at the start, so that was good,” said 16-year-old Larke.

“In the first set my back was struggling when I was returning, so I stood back and freed up a little bit.”

In one of the matches of the day in the girls’ event, Australia’s Yilin Yan fell in three sets to Lola Radivojevic of Serbia

Yan was up a break in the third set, before going down a break and getting to 0-40 when Radivojevic served for the match, before the Serbian dug her way out to hold for a 4-6 6-3 6-4 win.

Edward Winter thrived in the boys’ event, claiming a 4-6 6-3 6-3 victory over Russia’s Konstantin Zhzenov.

Winter came from a set down, landing a crucial break of serve in the eighth game of the second set to swing the momentum his way.

With both players starting to fatigue in the sweltering Melbourne heat, there were 14 break point chances presented in the deciding set, with Winter getting the edge with three breaks to one as he sealed the deal 6-3 in the third.

Winter had defeated former world No.6 Gilles Simon in the opening round of qualifying for the main draw, setting the 17-year-old up for big things in 2022.

Amor Jasika had a more difficult day in the boys’ event, exiting in straights to Hong Kong’s Coleman Wong, while Canada’s Jaden Weekes claimed a 7-5 7-6 (4) victory over Cooper Errey.

Errey broke back when Weekes was serving for the match in the second to force a tiebreak but couldn’t capitalize on a 3-0 lead in that breaker.

Alec Braund also exited in straight sets.

Australian Open 2022

Girls’ singles, first round
[WC] Taylah Preston (AUS) d Patricija Paukstyte (LTU) 6-2 6-1
[Q] Zara Larke (AUS) d [7] Johanne Christine Svendsen (DEN) 6-4 6-1
[14] Victoria Mboko (CAN) d [Q] Elena Micic (AUS) 6-4 6-2
Lola Radivojevic (SRB) d [WC] Yulin Yan (AUS)  4-6 6-3 6-4
Amelie Smejkalova (CZE) d [WC] Catherine Aulia (AUS) 6-4 3-6 6-0
Meshkatolzahra Safi (IRN) d [Q] Anja Nayar (AUS) 6-4 6-3

> VIEW: Australian Open 2022 girls’ singles draw

Boys’ singles, first round
[WC] Edward Winter (AUS) d Konstantin Zhzhenov (RUS) 4-6 6-3 6-3
[12] Wong Coleman (HNK) d [WC] Amor Jasika (AUS) 6-0 6-2
Jaden Weekes d [WC] Cooper Errey (AUS) (CAN) 7-5 7-6(4)
[14] Dino Prizmic (CRO) d [WC] Alec Braund (AUS) 6-1  6-1

> VIEW: Australian Open 2022 boys’ singles draw

Girls’ doubles, first round
Hayu Kinoshita (JPN)/Sara Saito (JPN) d Anja Nayar (AUS)/Denislava Glushkova (BUL) 4-6 6-1 [10-6]
Anca Alexia Todoni (ROU)/Hanne Vandewinkel (BEL) d [WC] Lily Fairclough (AUS)/Yilin Yan (AUS) 6-4 6-4

> VIEW: Australian Open 2022 girls’ doubles draw

Boys’ doubles, first round
Alessio Basile (BEL)/Daniel Verbeek (NED) d [WC] Charlie Camus (AUS)/Cooper Errey (AUS) 6-2 6-3
Ignacio Buse (PER)/Dinko Dinev (BUL) d [WC] Alexander Despoja (AUS)/Henry Lamchinniah (AUS) 4-6 6-4 [10-5]

> VIEW: Australian Open 2022 boys’ doubles draw

Girls’ singles, second round
Charlotte Kempenaers-Pocz (AUS) v Sara Saito (JPN)
Taylah Preston (AUS) v [2] Dania Shnaider (RUS)
[Q] Zara Larke (AUS) v Angela Okutoyi (KEN)

Boys’ singles, second round
[WC] Jeremy Jin (AUS) v Constantino Koshis (CYP)
[WC] Hayden Jones (AUS) v Tanapatt Nirundorn (THA)
[WC] Edward Winter (AUS) v [1]Bruno Kuzuhara (USA)

Girls’ doubles, first round
[WC] Charlotte Kempenaers-Pocz (AUS)/Taylah Preston (AUS) v Ana Candiotto (BRA)/Li Yu-Yin (TPE)
[WC] Talia Gibson (AUS)/Elena Micic (AUS) v Lucie Havlickova (CZE)/Dominika Salkova (CZE)
[WC] Roisin Gilheany (AUS)/Zara Larke (AUS) v Chelsea Fontenel (SUI)/Qavia Lopez (USA)

Boys’ doubles, first round
[WC] Hayden Jones (AUS)/Zachary Viiala (AUS) v Luka Mikrut (CRO)/Dino Prizmic (CRO)
[WC] Jeremy Jin (AUS)/Edward Winter (AUS) v [5] Gerard Campana Lee (KOR)/Lautaro Midon (ARG)

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