Photo: Srdjan StevanovicTaylor Townsend (USA)
PLANTATION, FL: World No. 1 Taylor Townsend (USA) and world No. 3 Katerina Siniakova (CZE) will fight it out for the year-end top spot at the 66th edition of the Grade A Orange Bowl International Tennis Championships which gets underway on Monday.
With both players in the girls' singles and doubles events this week, the rankings fight could come down to the wire. Townsend is only assured of maintaning her place at the top of the rankings if she reaches the singles final.
The Frank Veltri Tennis Center in Plantation, Florida, is hosting the 2012 ITF Junior Circuit finale for the second year running.
Townsend is the current Australian Open junior singles and doubles champion, Wimbledon and US Open junior doubles champion and was a member of the USA’s victorious 2012 Junior Fed Cup team, but clay is not her strongest surface.
The American will face tough opposition for the title in the form of Siniakova, the 2012 Grade A Osaka Mayor’s Cup champion, Pan American champion and world No. 6 Francoise Abanda (CAN), Wimbledon semifinalist Elizaveta Kulichkova (RUS) and world No.10 Belinda Bencic (SUI), winner of two $10,000 events on the ITF Women's Circuit this year.
Victory this week would consolidate Townsend's position at the top the world junior rankings and seal the 2012 ITF World Junior Champion title for the 16-year-old from Stockbridge, Georgia. Siniakova is the only other player that could deny Townsend the year-end top spot.
In the boys’ event, world No. 3 Gianluigi Quinzi (ITA) is top seed. The 16-year-old led Italy to the 2012 Junior Davis Cup by BNP Paribas title and won the 2012 Grade A Italian Open “Trofeo Bonfiglio” title - both events are played on clay.
Quinzi is joined by world No. 8 Frederico Silva (POR), runner up at the Grade A Abierto Juvenil Mexicano and European Junior Championships this year, world No.12 Noah Rubin, the highest ranked American in the event and Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka, a US Open junior semifinalist.
The Orange Bowl remains one of the most prestigious tournaments on the ITF Junior Circuit. Previous winners include Chris Evert , Bjorn Borg, John McEnroe, Ivan Lendl and Roger Federer.
Daily results and reports from the Orange Bowl will be available on www.itftennis.com/juniors.