Photo: Paul ZimmerUS Open opening ceremony
The final junior grand slam of the year gets underway this week as the top junior players head to Flushing Meadows for the US Open. The qualifying gets underway on Friday 31st August with the main draw commencing two days later on Sunday.
The top seed in the boy’s singles is world number 1 Kimmer Coppejans (BEL). The seventeen year old Belgian suffered a first round loss in last year’s tournament but has excelled since, winning Roland Garros and a further three Grade 1 titles in 2012.
The current European Champion is indomitable on his preferred surface of clay, but will now look to assert himself on Flushing Meadows’ hard courts in an effort to secure a second Grand Slam title and consolidate his number one ranking.
Coppejans’ closest rival will be Canadian world number two Filip Peliwo (CAN). The eighteen year old Canadian has reached every Grand Slam final in 2012 thus far, winning the juniors title at Wimbledon in July and finishing runner up in the Australian Open and Roland Garros, losing to Kimmer Coppejans in the final of the latter.
Like many of the field this will be his last junior grand slam and he will be looking to go out on a high. He has spent much of the year playing on the ITF Futures circuit where he has achieved a current ATP ranking of 600.
The highest American ranked junior is Mitchell Krueger, the number four seed. Texan Krueger is unbeaten on home soil in 2012, winning a pair of Grade 1 tournaments, notably also played on hard courts, and will hope to play well in front of his home crowd.
The girl’s field is also of the highest quality with 17 of the world’s top 20 competing. Australian Open champion and world number 1 Taylor Townsend heads the draw. It is Townsend’s second appearance at the US Open and she will face a number of other strong contenders for the title.
Among the favourites will be Yulia Putintseva (KAZ) and Eugenie Bouchard (CAN). Putintseva is second seed at the event on the strength of her WTA ranking of 146. World number 2, Bouchard, will be looking to win a consecutive Grand Slam title after her victory in Wimbledon in July, and will hope to better her 2011 US Open exit in the round of 32.
Another Canadian to watch out for is Francoise Abanda. World number twelve Abanda comes into the event brimming with confidence after a win at last week’s Canadian Open Junior Championships, defeating compatriot Carol Zhao to take the title.