23 Oct 2017

2017 ITF Junior Masters: Who's who

News Article

Photo: Srdjan StevanovicMarta Kostyuk (UKR)

In the build up to this year’s ITF Junior Masters, we are introducing the players who will compete in Chengdu. Our latest article takes a closer look at Ukraine’s Marta Kostyuk.

Kostyuk caused a stir on her junior circuit debut when, as a wildcard at a Grade 4 in Ukraine in July 2015, she reached the final. Having won her opening three matches in straight sets, she came through a tough three-setter in the semifinals, but an injury forced her to give a walkover in the final.

Her second final came in her first tournament in 2016. Having stepped up to a Grade 2 in Lithuania, Kostyuk was forced to come through a tough opening round, winning in a deciding set. She then cruised through the next three rounds, but fell in the title match.

A first title would follow later that year. At another Grade 2 event, this time in Hungary, Kostyuk again breezed through to the final, where she faced Kaja Juvan, the Slovenian also taking part at the ITF Junior Masters this week. Kostyuk dropped the opening set 60, but battled back to win in three sets and claim her first tournament crown.

In her very next tournament, Kostyuk earned her first doubles title. Partnering the Russian Natalia Boltinskaya, the pair lifted a Grade 2 title in Poland, winning half their matches in the deciding third set.

In September 2016, at the Hungarian Open, a Grade 2 event, Kostyuk won the doubles, lifting the singles title with a win over Daniela Vismane and the doubles title alongside another Russian, Sofya Lansere. She dropped just one set in each draw.

In December 2016, after a quarterfinal run at the prestigious Eddie Herr tournament in Florida, Kostyuk contested a Grade A event for the first time at the Orange Bowl. She reached the quarterfinal, with three of her four matches going the distance, where she fell to Whitney Osuigwe, the current junior world No. 1 and top seed in Chengdu this year.

In January 2017, Kostyuk contested a Junior Grand Slam for the first timeMarta Kostyuk (UKR) at the Australian Open. The Ukrainian won two of her opening three matches in deciding third sets, before going on to reach the final. In the title match, facing Rebeka Masarova, Kostyuk won her third three-set match of the week and claimed a maiden junior major title at the first time of asking.

During the summer, she reached the second round of singles at Junior Roland Garros and Junior Wimbledon, but went on to reach the semifinals in the doubles at SW19 alongside Carson Branstine.

Kostyuk earned more doubles titles during the summer and her most recent junior event came in New York. Playing the Junior US Open for the first time, she fell in the second round of singles for the third straight major. However, she excelled once again in doubles. Playing with Olga Danilovic, the duo won four of their five matches in straight sets as they stormed to the doubles title, earning Kostyuk her second Grand Slam title of the year.

In September, Kostyuk represented Ukraine at Junior Fed Cup by BNP Paribas. She won seven of the eight rubbers she contested, only dropping two of her 17 sets as she guided Ukraine to a 3rd-place finish. Included in her victories that week was a win over Maria Camila Osorio Serrano, who Kostyuk will face in the round robin group stage this week.

On the ITF Pro Circuit, Kostyuk earned her first back-to-back professional wins in just her second tournament, as she reached the quarterfinals of a $10,000 event in Egypt in October 2016, aged just 14.

In March this year she reached her first semifinal. After storming through qualifying at the $15,000 event in Turkey, Kostyuk won an additional three matches before eventually falling to Julia Grabher.

In May, Kostyuk had her biggest moment to date. She was handed a wildcard into a $25,000 tournament in Hungary, and reached the final with some impressive performances. Facing Bernarda Pera in her first final, Kostyuk showed no signs of nerves, recording a 64 63 win to clinch her first professional title.

In June, Kostyuk was handed a wildcard into qualifying for a WTA event at the Mallorca Open, her first time competing at that level. She fell in qualifying but a first main draw appearance feels imminent.

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