18 Oct 2017

2017 ITF Junior Masters: Who's who

News Article

Photo: Susan MullaneKaja Juvan (SLO)

In the build up to this year’s ITF Junior Masters, we are introducing the players who will compete in Chengdu. For today's article, we take a closer look at Slovenia’s Kaja Juvan.

Juvan made her debut on the junior circuit as a 13-year-old at a Grade 4 event in Slovenia in August 2014. She came through qualifying, winning her first match in three sets before storming through her second match without the loss of a single game, and went on to reach the round of 16.

In April 2015, Juvan contested her first Grade 2 tournament and again came through qualifying. She stormed through qualifying and won her opening three matches, all without dropping a set, before falling in the semifinals to compatriot Nina Potocnik.

In her next tournament, a Grade 2 in Slovenia, Juvan reached her first final. Having come through qualifying again, Juvan reached the title match having only dropped a single set. In the final, she fell in three sets to Czech Monika Kilnarova.

More finals followed throughout 2015, but a first title appeared elusive. Then, in September, at a Grade 4 tournament in Croatia, she again came through qualifying to reach the final. This time, there was no stopping the Slovenian and she defeated Serbia’s Olga Danilovic in straight sets. She also won the doubles title at that event, her second doubles title in as many tournaments.

At the start of 2016, Juvan competed in the main draw of a Grade 1 for the first time, in Traralgon, Australia, where she reached the third round. The next week, she played in a junior Grand Slam for the very first time, but fell in the opening round of both singles and doubles at the Australian Open.

In May 2016, Juvan competed in her second Grade A tournament at the Trofeo Bonfiglio in Italy. Having stormed through qualifying, the Slovenian came through two three-set matches in the first two rounds. She then defeated Charlotte Robillard-Millette, who played in Chengdu last year, and faced off against last year’s junior world champion Anastasia Potapova in the semifinals. Another three-set win saw Juvan into the final against Olesya Pervushina. Unfortunately, the title match proved a bridge too far for Juvan, but this performance announced her to the world.

Later in the year, she competed at junior Wimbledon and the junior US Open, but once again fell in the opening round of the singles. However, she reached the semifinals in both Slams in the doubles, playing alongside Poland’s Iga Swiatek in both tournaments.

In December last year, Juvan captured her highest-profile title to date. Kaja Juvan (SLO)Playing at the Grade A Orange Bowl in America, Juvan defeated Maria Lourdes Carle and Whitney Osuigwe, both playing in Chengdu this year, in the quarterfinals and semifinals, before defeating Potapova once more to claim the title.

Juvan has played just five junior tournaments in 2017. She reached the final of the Nike Junior International in Roehampton, but fell in the title match to American Claire Liu. The following week at junior Wimbledon, Juvan lifted the doubles title playing with Serbian Olga Danilovic.

She won the last junior tournament she played, the European Junior Championships in Switzerland, defeating Marta Kostyuk, also competing in Chengdu this year, in the final.

On the ITF Pro Circuit, Juvan reached the final in just her second tournament, a $10,000 event in Slovenia in June 2016, but lost to Gabriela Pantuckova in three sets in the final. She didn’t have to wait long for her first title though.

In October 2016, Juvan came through qualifying at a $10,000 event in Croatia and stormed to the final, defeating Pantuckova along the way. In the final, she dropped just four games against Tena Lukas to claim her first Pro Circuit title. The Slovenian did not drop a set in the eight matches she played that week.

She reached another in March 2017, and her impressive performances earned her a call-up to the Slovenian Fed Cup by BNP Paribas team. Juvan won one and lost one of the two rubbers she played that week as Slovenia won promotion to Europe/Africa Zone Group II for 2018.

Juvan claimed her second Pro Circuit title in June this year, at a $15,000 event in Slovenia, defeating Potocnik in the final. Through her brief professional career, Juvan has compiled an impressive 29-9 win-loss record.

The 2017 ITF Junior Masters will take place at the Sichuan International Tennis Center in Chengdu, China on 25-29 October.