Impressive showing for U.S. juniors at ITF World Junior Tennis Finals

August 8, 2016 02:33 PM

By Sally Milano,

For the second straight year, the U.S. girls' team finished in second place and the American boys finished in third at the prestigious ITF World Junior Tennis Finals.

The annual 14-and-under international team competition, the equivalent of Davis Cup and Fed Cup for young juniors, was held Aug. 1-6 in Prostejov, Czech Republic.

Alexa Noel kicked off the action for the Americans in the girls' final, winning a three-set battle against Daria Snigur of Ukraine, 7-5, 0-6, 6-2, to give the U.S. a 1-0 lead. American Whitney Osuigwe was up next against Marta Kostyuk, but fell, 6-3, 6-0, to force a deciding doubles match.

In the doubles match, Osuigwe and Noel took the first set for the U.S., 6-3, before Kostyuk and Dasha Lopatetska bounced back to claim the second set, 6-2, for Ukraine. The Ukrainian girls then took an early four-point lead in the super tiebreak and never looked back, winning 10-6 to capture the first championship for their country in 10 years.

The U.S. girls advanced by going undefeated in round-robin pool play and defeating defending champion Russia in the semifinals.

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The U.S. boys, meanwhile, beat Korea, 2-0 in the third-place playoff, to finish behind champion Argentina and runner-up China in the 2016 World Junior Tennis competition.

Eric Nunez, coach of the boys' team, switched up the team's lineup for the match against Korea, moving Faris Khan, who had yet to play a singles rubber, to the No. 2 singles spot. The move paid off for Team USA, as Khan defeated Hwijin Jung, 6-2, 6-3, to give the U.S. a 1-0 lead in the playoff. His brother Zane Khan then beat Jungwon Park, 4-6, 7-6 (4), 6-0, in the second match to clinch third place for the U.S.

The U.S. boys also went undefeated in pool play to advance to the semifinals.

Overall, the United States has won six World Junior Tennis girls’ titles (1992, 2007-10, 2013) and four World Junior Tennis boys’ titles (2002-03, 2008, 2012).

Former U.S. junior international team members include Jim Courier, Andy Roddick, James Blake, Lindsay Davenport and Sloane Stephens. Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have also represented their respective countries in junior international team competition.