19 Oct 2017

2017 ITF Junior Masters: Who's who

News Article

Photo: Susan MullaneJurij Rodionov (AUT)

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 Austrian Jurij Rodionov.

Rodionov made his debut on the junior circuit as a 13-year-old at a Grade 4 event in Bosnia/Herzegovina. He won three consecutive three-set matches to get through qualifying, but fell in the main draw first round. His first main draw came a few months later when he reached the round of 16 at a Grade 4 event in Slovenia.

Rodionov’s first final came in doubles, at a Grade 5 event in Belarus in December 2013. Playing alongside Russian Philipp Klimov, the pair fell in the title match. At the same event, Rodionov reached his second main draw semifinal.

The Austrian had to wait until August 2014 for his second final, but it was well worth the wait. At a Grade 4 in Slovakia, playing alongside another Russian in Nazar Khrustalev, the duo lifted the title without the loss of a set.

Rodionov’s first singles final came in his first tournament in 2015. At a Grade 2 event in Ukraine, the Austrian won all five of his matches without dropping a set to claim his first title at the first time of asking. More finals followed in 2015, but a second title proved elusive.

His start to 2016 was blistering. The Austrian won his first three tournaments, including his highest-profile win so far at a Grade 1 in Czech Republic, only dropping one set along the way. In his third tournament, he also won the doubles title with Klimov.

A string of titles, semifinals and quarterfinals earned him a main draw spot in his first Grade A event, the Trofeo Bonfiglio in Milan. He won two three-set matches en route to a semifinal finish, falling to American Ulises Blanch in the last four.

A week later, Rodionov was in Paris competing in his first junior Grand Jurij Rodionov (AUT)Slam at Roland Garros. He reached the second round in both singles and doubles. Later that summer he played at Junior Wimbledon but suffered a three-set opening round defeat.

Rodionov did not play a junior event between July 2016 and February 2017, but his time playing on the ITF Pro Circuit clearly proved beneficial as he won both the singles and doubles titles in his first tournament back, a Grade 1 event in Russia. In fact, in his first four tournaments this year, Rodionov claimed three singles and three doubles titles.

At the Trofeo Bonfiglio in May, Rodionov reached the quarterfinals in both singles and doubles, but fell in three sets in both. He then reached the third round in singles at Junior Roland Garros, and the semifinals of the doubles, alongside Michael Vrbensky.

He upped his game at Junior Wimbledon, reaching the quarterfinals of the singles and fought for the doubles title, again with Vrbensky. Unfortunately the duo of Axel Geller and Hsu Yu Hsiou, both playing in Chengdu this year, proved too strong in the title match.

In September, Rodionov competed at the Junior US Open for the first time, but fell in the second round in both singles and doubles.

Rodionov has been active on the ITF Pro Circuit since making his debut as a 16-year-old in June 2015. His first main draw victory came in November that year, at a Futures event in Egypt.

In August 2016, at the Slovakia F4 Futures, Rodionov recorded back-to-back main draw wins for the first time. As a qualifier, he battled through a tough three-set opener before going on to reach the semifinals, where he fell in three sets to Czech Vaclav Safranek.

The Austrian has reached a number of semifinals, most recently in March this year, but is yet to have the opportunity to fight for a first professional title.

In July this year, Rodionov competed in the main draw of an ATP Challenger for the first time, qualifying impressively before reaching the quarterfinals at the Prague Challenger (CZE). He was then handed a wild card into qualifying at the ATP event in Kitzbuhel, but could not reach the main draw.

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