23 Oct 2017

Wu handed tough draw in Chengdu

News Article

Photo: Paul ZimmerPlayers at the draw in Chengdu

Local favourite and world No. 1 Wu Yibing has a fight on his hands to finish top of his group at this week's ITF Junior Masters in Chengdu.

The Chinese prodigy, already ranked inside the world’s Top 350 has been placed into Group Shuai alongside Jurij Rodionov, Marko Miladinovic and Emil Ruusuvuori for the prestigious event, which takes place at Chengdu's Sichuan International Tennis Center on 25-29 October.

Austria’s Rodionov will be Wu’s closest competitor for the top spot in Group Shuai and the pair met last week in the Ningbo Challenger (CHN). Rodionov came through three rounds of qualifying, defeating the No. 2 seed to reach the main draw. The pair met in the opening round of the Challenger, with Rodionov running out a 64 63 winner. Rodionov went on to reach the semifinals, falling to eventual champion Mikhail Youzhny.

The other two players in Group Shuai are Marko Miladinovic and Emil Ruusuvuori. Ruusuvuori and Wu met in this year’s Junior US Open semifinals. The pair had a hard-fought match, ending in a third set tiebreak as Wu saved match points to win, going on to clinch the title.

The other group in the boys’ draw, Group Yong, there is an all-Argentinian clash with No. 2 seed Axel Geller and Sebastian Baez placed in the same group alongside Hsu Yu Hsiou of Chinese Taipei and American Trent Bryde.

The Argentinians have met just once before on the junior circuit, with Geller running out a 63 64 winner. A match to watch out for is Geller against Hsu. They were a force when playing together, lifting the Junior Wimbledon title, but it will be interesting to see what happens when they line up on opposing sides of the court.

USA’s Whitney Osuigwe became junior world No. 1 last week and she is in Group Liang alongside Elena Rybakina, Maria Lourdes Carle and fellow American Sofia Sewing.

The Americans in Group Liang have never met in junior competition, but the other two players took part in an epic match at the Junior US Open. Rybakina was the No. 3 seed at the tournament, while Carle was unseeded and had already taken down two seeded opponents when they met in the quarterfinals. The match went to a deciding third set with Carle adding a third seed to her list winning 64 46 64.

Osuigwe will be pleased to have avoided China’s Wang Xin Yu, whom she fell to in the title match at the Osaka Mayor’s Cup last week.

Instead, Wang is in Group Li with Marta Kostyuk, Kaja Juvan and Maria Camila Osorio Serrano.

Kostyuk and Juvan are the highest-ranked players in the group and the pair met earlier this year at the Junior Championships at Wimbledon, with Kostyuk running out the 75 63 victor, the only time in three previous meetings between the players that a match has been won in straight sets.

Osorio Serrano is very much the unknown in this group, as she has never faced any of her three opponents on the junior circuit. At just 15 years of age, Osorio Serrano is one of the youngest competitors in the competition, alongside Kostyuk.