Top American juniors qualify for ITF Junior Masters
America’s junior players have long been at the forefront of the world tennis scene, and they are continuing to take the tennis world by storm. Four U.S. players will be competing in the upcoming ITF Junior Masters, a prestigious international event that showcases the top 18-and-under players in the world.
Usue Arconada, Sofia Kenin, Kayla Day and William Blumberg will play in the ITF Junior Masters, April 8-10, in Chengdu, China. The four Americans are part of a field of eight boys and eight girls who qualified into the tournament based on their ITF World Junior Ranking at the end of 2015.
The United States is the only country to have multiple players competing in the event.
Now in its second year, the ITF Junior Masters features two knock-out singles events, with each player guaranteed three matches to determine his or her final finishing position. Players will compete for a total prize fund of $160,000 in travel grants. They are also competing for wild cards into professional events.
Arconada (pictured above) had a big year on the junior circuit in 2015, winning two ITF titles, reaching another final and finishing the year ranked No. 7 in the world. Kenin, who ended last year at No. 8, reached the 2015 US Open girls' singles final. Recently crowned USTA International Spring Championships champion Day, ranked 10th at the end of 2015, won two ITF junior titles, finished runner-up at two other events, including the prestigious Metropolia Orange Bowl, and was a member of the Junior Fed Cup team. And current world No. 4 Blumberg, who was ranked 10th in the boys’ rankings at the end of 2015, reached the boys' doubles final at the 2015 French Open and won the singles title at last year's International Spring Championships. (He was a semifinalist this year.)
Rounding out the girls’ entry list is 2016 Australian Open girls' singles finlaist and girls' doubles champion Tereza Mihalikova of Slovakia; 2015 Australian Open and Easter Bowl runner-up Katie Swan of Great Britain; 2015 Wimbledon junior finalist Anna Blinkova of Russia; Charlotte Robillard-Millette of Canada; and Miriam Kolodziejova of the Czech Republic.
Joining Blumberg in the boys' field are 2015 Orange Bowl junior champion Miomir Kecmanovic of Serbia; 2015 Australian Open junior runner-up Hong Seong Chan of Korea; 2014 double Youth Olympic medalist Orlando Luz of Brazil; 2013 Junior Davis Cup by BNP Paribas winner Alvaro Lopez San Martin of Spain; Casper Ruud of Norway; Marcelo Barrios Vera of Chile; and Ly Hoang Nam of Vietnam.
The ITF Junior Masters joins the ITF junior team competitions – the 14-and-under ITF World Junior Tennis competition and 16-and-under Junior Davis Cup and Junior Fed Cup by BNP Paribas – as the premier junior events on the 2016 ITF calendar.
American Taylor Fritz, the 2015 boys' ITF World Junior Champion who is now ranked No. 79 on the ATP World Tour, reached the final at the inaugural ITF Junior Masters event last year.
Ed. Note: In the final standings, Blumberg finished fifth among the boys, and among the girls, Day finished fourth, Kenin finished sixth and Arconada seventh.