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US Open Junior Preview
Bhambri, Mladenovic Take Aim at Another Junior Slam Title in New York
by Colette Lewis
, 4 September 2009
India's Yuki Bhambri and France's Kristina Mladenovic will be the top seeds in this year's U.S. Open Junior Championships, but they're better off reflecting on their previous Junior Grand Slam titles than on the past history of No. 1 seeds in the year's final major.
The last boy to win the title from the top spot was Richard Gasquet of France, back in 2002. The news is more encouraging for Mladenovic, the French Open girls champion this year - it was only three years ago that No. 1 seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia secured the crown
in New York.
But contenders are everywhere this year, and they don't just emerge from the ITF junior rankings. Last year American CoCo Vandeweghe won the championship as an unseeded wild card, with qualifier Devin Britton of the U.S. reaching the final before losing to No. 3 seed Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria. It was the fourth consecutive year that an unseeded boy had played in the championship match.
Who might fill that role this year? It could be USTA 18s champion Chase Buchanan, who received a wild card into both the main draw and the Junior Championships after a dominating performance in Kalamazoo. Or Filip Horansky of Slovakia, a 16-year-old who has had an impressive first year at ITF Grade A tournaments. American Jordan Cox, the 17-year-old Wimbledon boys finalist, won't be seeded in New York, nor barring late withdrawals, will American Alex Domijan, the 2008 Eddie Herr champion, who reached the quarterfinals at Wimbledon and the finals of a Futures event this summer.
Aside from Australian Bernard Tomic and Korean Yong Kyu Lim, whose ATP rankings of 324 and 402 respectively will earn them Top 8 seeds, the 17-year-old Bhambri has the best ATP ranking at 507, a number that does not include the points earned from his latest ITF men's circuit title last week. While Bhambri did not play Wimbledon or Roland Garros this year, his wins at the Orange Bowl last December and at the Australian Open the following month suggest he is very comfortable on hard courts.
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