13 Jun 2017

Road to Chengdu: Osuigwe in pole position after Paris

News Article

Photo: Susan MullaneWhitney Osuigwe (USA)

Fresh from their junior triumphs at Roland Garros, Whitney Osuigwe and Alexei Popyrin moved into dominant positions in the race for a place at the ITF Junior Masters in Chengdu on 25-29 October.

Fifteen-year-old Osuigwe occupies pole position in the Road to Chengdu girls’ standings following her stunning triumph in the girls’ singles at Roland Garros.

In only the second ever all-American girls’ final at Roland Garros, Osuigwe defeated compatriot Claire Liu in a two-hour-seven minute contest to become the first girls’ champion from USA since Jennifer Capriati in 1989.

Popyrin, meanwhile, climbed to No. 2 in the boys’ standings after winning three consecutive tournaments – a Grade 1 in Casablanca, followed by the Grade A crowns in Milan and Paris – to improve his win-loss record in 2017 to 23-3 on the junior circuit.

The Road to Chengdu, which runs from 12 September 2016 until 10 September 2017, sees the world’s best juniors jostle for position in a bid to finish amongst the Top 8 come the end of the qualification period and earn a place at the third edition of the prestigious ITF Junior Masters.

Road to Chengdu - Girls

Race to Chengdu - Girls

The event, won by Anna Blinkova and Hong Seong Chan last year, gives participants a taste of tennis at the highest level and offers the prize of travel grants ranging from $7,000-$15,000 based on the final finishing positions of the eight players involved in each of the boys’ and girls’ singles events.

The tournament was launched in 2015 with the aim of assisting players with their transition from the junior to the senior game.

Road to Chengdu - Boys
Race to Chengdu - Boys

This year’s competition, open to players born in 1999 or later, will be held in October for the first time, allowing the tournament to form an integral part of the race to become the year-end Junior World Champion.

Seven different nations are currently represented in the Top 8 of the boys’ Road to Chengdu standings, while five different nations are represented in the girls’ standings – with Osuigwe one of three Americans currently in contention to qualify.