10 Oct 2017

2017 ITF Junior Masters: Who's who

News Article

Photo: Susan MullaneTaylor Johnson (USA)

Each day in the build up to this year’s ITF Junior Masters, we will be introducing one of the players competing. In this first article, we take a look at American Taylor Johnson.

At No. 14, Johnson was the lowest-ranked of the eight players comprising the girls’ draw when the nominations were announced last month. She has since moved up one spot in the rankings and sits two spots above fellow American Sofia Sewing.

At the start of her career, Johnson’s best performances came on the doubles court. She lifted a title in just her second tournament – the Grade 4 in Atlanta alongside Carson Branstine. That title came in November 2014, when Johnson was just 14. By the end of the month, she had another doubles title, again with Branstine.

Johnson’s first singles final came in May 2015. After winning three consecutive three-set matches to reach the final of the Grade 4 tournament at Delray Beach, Johnson fell just short, losing to Hurricane Tyra Black.

Towards the end of the 2015 season, Johnson started to enter more difficult tournaments, and, at the start of 2016, she claimed her first singles title. Contesting the Grade 1 Copa Barranquilla in Colombia, the American dropped just one set en route to the title.

In July 2016, Johnson contested her first junior Grand Slam when she Taylor Johnson (USA)played at Wimbledon. She fell in the second round to Anastasia Potapova, who would go on to lift the title and be crowned ITF Junior World Champion. She fared better on home soil, reaching the round of 16 in singles and the quarterfinals of the doubles.

Johnson’s next tournament after the US Open was an historic one for her. Competing in the Abierto Juvenil Mexicano in Mexico City, on her preferred clay courts, Johnson lifted her first Grade A title, winning a three-set final against fellow American Ellie Douglas.

More finals have followed her victory in Mexico, but as of yet, no titles. Johnson hit a career-high ranking of No. 8 in June this year, and she has started her journey into the ITF Pro Circuit, recording her first main-draw singles victory in May, and her first main-draw doubles victory in July.

In August, Johnson received a wildcard into the US Open women’s doubles main draw, playing alongside Claire Liu. Unfortunately for the young American duo, they fell in the first round.

This year sees a tweak to the format from the previous two years. While the tournament was a straight knockout event in 2015 and 2016, 2017’s edition has been modified. This year, the tournament will consist of two round-robin groups of four players, with the top two players in each group qualifying for the semifinals.