17 Oct 2017

2017 ITF Junior Masters: Who's who

News Article

Photo: Susan MullaneMarko Miladinovic (SRB)

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 Marko Miladinovic of Serbia.

It only took four tournaments for a then-14-year-old Marko Miladinovic to reach his first final on the junior circuit. At the Grade 4 Montenegro Open, he did not drop a set in reaching the final, but could not quite clinch the title.

It took 51 weeks for Miladinovic for reach his second final, this time at a Grade 2 event in Russia. After winning a pair of three-set matches, the Serb fell in the final once more. His was not forced to wait long for his next final.

Back at the Montenegro Open, Miladinovic improved on his performance from the previous year and had no difficulty clinching his first junior title, without dropping a set in the tournament.Marko Miladinovic (SRB)

Following that win in Montenegro, Miladinovic stepped up to face a higher calibre of player, contesting mainly Grade 1 and Grade 2 events. In September 2016, Miladinovic claimed his next title, winning a Grade 2 event in Serbia.

In December of 2016, Miladinovic had improved his ranking sufficiently to earn a spot in the Orange Bowl, his first Grade A event. The Serb showed few signs of nerves as he reached the round of 16, eventually falling to Kenneth Raisma.

Miladinovic got off to a flying start to 2017, claiming his first Grade 1 title at the Banana Bowl in Brazil in his first tournament of the year. He reached at least the quarterfinals in each of his next three tournaments, all of which were at the Grade 1 level, before playing his second Grade A event at the Trofeo Bonfiglio.

The Serbian won three consecutive three set matches as he battled his way to a first Grade A final. However, the title proved a step too far as Miladinovic lost to Australian Alexei Popyrin in the title match.

Miladinovic, who is still only 16, has played in three junior Grand Slams this year, but has yet to advance past the second round in singles or doubles. In September, he won his second Grade 1 title of the year at an event in Canada, only dropping one set along the way.

On the ITF Pro Circuit, Miladinovic recorded his first main draw victory at the Serbia F2 Futures event in Novi Sad in August this year. His second came earlier this month when he went through qualifying at the Egypt F29 Futures in Sharm El Sheikh to reach the second round.

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