Friday 10 to 1: juniors making their mark
With our juniors in action this week in Mexico, we take a look at the most notable juniors to be making their presence felt on the senior tour in 2013.
With our juniors in action this week in Mexico, we take a look at the juniors who have begun making the biggest strides since turning their attention to the senior tour in 2013.
The junior Wimbledon champion this year, 16-year-old Bencic made her presence felt on the WTA Tour this week in Tokyo, making the most of her wildcard into the main draw of the prestigious WTA Premier event and winning her opening round match. She fell to Petra Kvitova in the second round, but only after pushing the No.7 seed in a 7-5 6-4 loss. Her current ranking of No.326 stands to rise enormously when the next WTA rankings are released.
The Aussie 19-year-old, who last competed on the junior tour in 2012, has made impressive strides in 2013. Sanders was ranked outside the world’s top 600 in February before she qualified for then won the ITF Pro Tour title in Launceston. After reaching the final of the Ipswich Pro Tour event the following week, it was the beginning of a rapid rise that saw her peak at world No.217 in August and achieve her goal of entering US Open qualifying. She owns a win-loss record of 28-16 in 2013.
The Canadian enjoyed a stellar year at the junior Slams in 2012, winning Wimbledon and the US Open after reaching the Australian and French Open finals. And in his first year of senior tennis in 2013, he’s already cracked the top 300 thanks to consistency on the ITF Futures circuit, and by impressively reaching the second round of his home ATP Masters 1000 event in Montreal.
Having begun the year ranked No.125, the Russian-born Kazakh cracked the top 100 for the first time in February 2013, and this season reached the second round at both the Australian and French Opens. The intensely-competitive 18-year-old has seen her ranking rise to a peak of No.88 after a combination of success on the ITF circuit and qualifying for several WTA events. Previously coached by Martina Hingis, her progress has been halted by a back injury.
The 17-year-old became the youngest player inside the WTA’s top 100 in January this year after reaching the second round of the Australian Open, and also reached the second round at Flushing Meadows. Just days after turning 17 in June, she enjoyed a run to the WTA Birmingham final, backing up her success in 2012 by winning though to the Tashkent final. She is currently ranked 77th.
While still contesting the junior events in Melbourne, Paris and London, the Aussie 18-year-old has made scintillating strides on the professional tour, beginning when he won the ATP Challenger title in Sydney. Kyrgios has surged from outside the top 800 to his current mark of No.189; he’s the youngest player inside the ATP top 200. It’s an improvement highlighted by a second round appearance at Roland Garros, qualifying for the US Open, and making his Davis Cup debut for Australia.
Apart from playing one junior event in 2012, Barty pretty much left the junior circuit after winning the girls’ singles title at Wimbledon. Since then, she’s made magnificent strides, despite being younger than almost all the other girls on this list; she’s captured four ITF titles since 2012, enjoyed her first Grand Slam main draw victories at the French and US Opens this year, and risen to world No.133. And she’s been a dazzling competitor on the doubles circuit, reaching the Australian, Wimbledon and US finals with Casey Dellacqua and peaking at world No.12.
She competed at the French Open juniors as recently as 2012, but just over a year later, the 18-year-old found herself inside the WTA’s top 50. It’s a mark she’s reached thanks to four WTA-level quarterfinals as well as a semifinal run at the WTA event in Katowice; the German has also progressed to the second round at three of the four majors in 2013.
The Ukrainian, who recently turned 19, has stealthily climbed inside the WTA’s top 40 since reaching the junior Wimbledon final in 2012. Svitolina has won 32 matches this season, mixing ITF success with impressive tour results, the most notable being her run to the title in Baku, Uzbekistan. Currently ranked No.39, she also reached the semifinals in Bad Gastein, Austria.
Topping our list is Eugenie Bouchard, who since winning the 2012 girls’ singles title at Wimbledon has gone on to make her presence felt on the WTA Tour. And although she’s not yet hit as high a ranking as Svitolina – she’s currently ranked 46th – it’s been the nature of her wins and the tournaments at which she’s achieved them that have turned heads. In 2013, she’s beaten Jelena Jankovic, Laura Robson, Sam Stosur and Ana Ivanovic, and this week reached the quarterfinals in Tokyo. She also progressed to the third round at Wimbledon, this time in the women’s singles.