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Rebeka Masarova Aims for Second Major Title at Australian Open
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As is typical for the Australian Open Junior Championships, many of the top juniors have skipped the trip to Melbourne this year. But one major winner has made the long plane ride, with 2016 French Open girls champion Rebeka Masarova of Switzerland, No. 4 in the current ITF junior rankings, looking for a second title.

Top Seed and Defending Champion Rebeka Masarova
© Paul Ballard
The 17-year-old followed up her title in Paris with a run to the semifinals of the WTA tournament is Gstaad last July, picking up wins over former world No. 1 Jelena Jankovic, Anett Kontaveit and Annika Beck in her first event at that level. But since those stunning victories, Masarova has struggled in ITF Women's Circuit events, going 3-4 in four tournaments in the fall, and at the Grade 1 ITF warmup event in Traralgon this week, she lost in the first round to 15-year-old American Hurricane Tyra Black.

Masarova is not the only French Open champion in the draw, with doubles winner Olga Danilovic of Serbia taking aim at her first Grade A singles title. The tall left-hander, daughter of former NBA player Sasha Danilovic, did not play Traralgon, so she will be hoping to adapt quickly to the hard courts.

Coffee Bowl champion Emily Appleton is one of two British girls among the top eight seeds, joining frequent doubles partner Jodie Burrage. Appleton's year got off to a great start on the hard courts in Costa Rica, where she collected her first Grade 1 title, and the 17-year-old will be looking for her first win at a junior slam after going 0-3 last summer. Burrage, also 17, has played sparingly on hard courts the past year, but has had enough success on grass and clay, including a Grade 1 title in Morocco, to lift her ranking from 177 at the start of 2016 to 14 now.

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