Photo: Corinne DubreuilLiam Broady (GBR)
MILAN, ITALY: Liam Broady (GBR) and Anna Danilina (KAZ) top the bill at this week’s Trofeo Bonfiglio in Milan as the Italian clay court circuit comes to a climax.
Taking place at Tennis Club Milano A. Bonacossa on 21-27 May, the event has had Grade A status since 1978, and boasts Nicolas Almagro (ESP) and Anna Kournikova (RUS) among its former champions.
Danilina has been in exceptional form this year and won her first Grade A title at the Copa Gerdau in Brazil in March. Victory in Italy would cement her position as one of the leading contenders for junior Roland Garros, which begins in Paris on 30th May.
World No. 6 Elizaveta Kulichkova (RUS) poses the greatest threat to Danilina, having claimed three titles already this year. The 16-year-old won the first Grade A of the year, the Abierto Juvenil Mexicano in Mexico in January, a Grade 1 event in Malaysia in March and women’s $10,000 futures event in Antalya in April.
There is a strong south American challenge for the title with the continent having four of the top seven ranked entries. This includes Beatriz Haddad Maia of Brazil who has shown excellent clay court form this year, reaching the final of the Copa Gerdau before losing to Danilina. Another name to watch out for is Estonian Annett Kontaveit, who boats an impressive WTA ranking of No. 522 and made her Estonian Fed Cup debut in 2011.
Broady returns to ITF Junior competition after concentrating on playing ITF Pro Circuit events in 2012 and will be looking to improve on his first round loss here last year. He will face stiff competition for the title from home favourite Gianluigi Quinzi (ITA). Quinzi, who is almost two years younger than Broady, has been steadily rising up the ITF Junior rankings in recent months and plays in Milan ranked at No. 5. The Italian has already won three events on clay this year and will be looking to delight the home crowd.
Another challenger will be Canadian Filip Peliwo who has been a consistent performer on the ITF Junior Circuit over the past year. He reached the final of the Australian Open in January and will be looking to improve on reaching the last 16 in Milan in 2011.