The US Open Junior Championships begin today, and some of the faces you may have already seen on these courts.
Women’s singles main-draw wild card Sofia Kenin and Ingrid Neel and qualifying wild cards Tornado Alicia Black, Raveena Kingsley, Claire Liu, Michael Mmoh, Reilly Opelka and Tommy Paul have all stuck around Flushing to try to capture the final Grand Slam event of the year for the juniors.
Just as there are Grand Slam events for men’s and women’s singles, the teenagers in the 18-and-under group also have a chance to get their name attached to a Major.
This year, there are several Americans poised to hold up one of those trophies if they can get through the 64-player draw. Of those, two have experienced winning majors before. Paul, who is seeded fifth in the boys’ singles, won the French Open Junior Championships, besting fellow American Taylor Fritz, the No. 1 seed here, in the finals. Reilly Opelka, the sixth seed in the draw, was the junior boys’ winner at Wimbledon.
The boys’ second seed, Michael Mmoh of the United States, also has quite impressive credentials, having made the semifinals of the Australian Open junior doubles, Roland Garros boys' singles and Wimbledon boys' doubles and won the Nike Junior International at Roehampton in England.
Kenin, who won the USTA Girls’ 18 National Championships, is seeded nine in the girls’ singles, and American Usue Maitane Arconada is seeded eight. Either could possibly make a run through the draw.
The top seed for the girls is Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic, who made the girls' semifinals at Roland Garros and won the doubles title there and at Wimbledon.
Seeded just behind Vondrousova in the girls’ singles is Dalma Galfi of Hungary, who partnered with the Czech for the Wimbledon doubles title and was a semifinalist at the Australian Open.
American juniors will definitely be looking to use the home-court advantage to hold up the Open trophy and it looks like they have more contenders than usual. The last girls from the United States to win the championship was Samantha Crawford in 2012 and Grace Min in 2011. The boys have taken even longer, with the last US Open boys’ crowns going to Jack Sock in 2010 and Andy Roddick in 2000.
The US Open Junior Championships will take place on the outer courts from Sept. 6-13.