07 Apr 2016

ITF Junior Masters: Who's who

News Article

Katie Swan (GBR) and Casper Ruud (NOR)

On the final day of the build-up to the ITF Junior Masters, we will be introducing two top seeds, Katie Swan from Great Britain and Norway’s Casper Ruud.

Katie Swan

In Katie Swan’s fourth tournament on the Junior circuit, she won the doubles title at the 2013 Copa INDES Internacional in El Salvador. In her very next tournament, she reached the final in both singles and doubles, but an injury forced her to withdraw from both.

Her first singles title came in February 2014, when she won the Copenhagen Cup. She enjoyed a double success that week, also winning the doubles title. She reached a further three singles finals in 2014 in events of various Grades, including the Grade 1 Canadian Open.

Swan had an impressive 2015, only suffering one first round loss all year on the junior circuit. Her best performance came at the Junior Australian Open, where she reached the final, but lost to Tereza Mihalikova, who is also playing in Chengdu this weekend.Katie Swan (GBR)

She followed that up with a run to the final of the Grade B1 Easter Bowl, but again suffered defeat in the final. She did win the doubles title alongside Sofia Kenin, who is also competing this weekend, before reaching the doubles final at the Grade A Trofe Bonfiglio. At the end of the year she finished as runner-up in both singles and doubles at the prestigious Grade A Abierto Juvenil Mexicano.

Also in 2015, Swan represented Great Britain at the Junior Fed Cup Finals and put in a string of impressive performances, with her only singles defeat due to a retirement. During the Finals, she defeated Charlotte Robillard-Millette, who is also competing this weekend.

On the ITF Pro Circuit, Swan lifted the title in just her fourth tournament, in March 2015, coming through qualifying and storming through the field without the loss of a set on her way to the title. She claimed her second title a couple of months later, at a $10,000 tournament in Madrid. In the second round of that tournament, she defeated Anna Blinkova, who is the No. 2 seed in Chengdu.

In 2016, she earned a call-up to the Great Britain Fed Cup team. Playing in Europe/Africa Zone Group I, Swan impressed, winning her opening two rubbers as Great Britain advance to the promotional play-offs. In the play-offs, she came up against Ysaline Bonaventure, ranked some 400 places higher than swan, but fell in three sets, as Belgium won 2-0.

As top seed, Swan is one of the favourites for the title. She certainly has the ability to reach the latter stages and should be a force to be reckoned with in the competition.

Casper Ruud

Norway’s Casper Ruud impressed on his Junior circuit debut when, in May 2013 at the age of 14, he stormed through qualifying to reach the singles quarterfinals. In the same tournament, he reached the semifinals of the doubles.

Ruud’s first title came in November of 2013 when, still aged just 14, he lifted the doubles title at the Stabekk Autumn Open. 6 months later, and 53 weeks after he made his debut, he lifted his first singles title at the Estonian Junior Open, dropping just eight games in total in the tournament.

Ruud started 2015 in impressive style, winning his first three Casper Ruud (NOR)tournaments, all Grade 1s. In the Coffee Bowl in the first week of the year, the Norwegian defeated Miomir Kecmanovic, who is competing in Chengdu this weekend, in three sets in the final. Later in the year, he won the prestigious Grade A Osaka Mayor’s Cup and followed that up with the doubles title at the Grade 1 Eddie Herr.

In 2013, while still just 14 years old, Ruud represented Norway at the Junior Davis Cup Finals in Mexico. Though much younger than many of his opponents, he impressed, winning 3 of his 5 singles rubbers in the week.

Casper’s impressive form on the Junior circuit at the start of 2015 earned him a call-up to the Norwegian Davis Cup team for its campaign in Europe Zone Group III. Ruud won all three of the singles rubbers he contested as Norway earned promotion to Europe/African Zone Group II. He featured again in 2016 but suffered his first singles defeat in the competition when he fell to Ricardas Berankis, a Top 100 player, as Norway lost in the opening round to Lithuania.

So far, 2016 has been a good year for Ruud on the ITF Pro Circuit. He won his first professional title in February when, as a qualifier, he won a Futures event in Spain, saving match points in the final. In March, he reached his second final but lost in three sets to Michael Mmoh, who contested the Junior Masters last year.

Ruud’s form has been impressive in the last two years, and if he carries that form into the tournament then he will have the opportunity to lift the title in Chengdu.