Tiafoe, Black to lead American juniors in Paris

May 9, 2014 07:10 AM

By Sally Milano, USTA.com

Sixteen-year-old Francis Tiafoe of College Park, Md., the No. 2-ranked boy in the ITF World Junior Rankings, and 15-year-old Tornado Alicia Black of Boca Raton, Fla., ranked No. 4 in the world and a finalist at the 2013 US Open, will lead a strong contingent of American juniors in the main draw of the French Open Junior Championship, which will be held June 1-7 in Paris.

Joining Tiafoe in the boys' draw are No. 4-ranked Stefan Kozlov, 16, from Pembroke Pines, Fla., a 2014 Australian Open junior finalist who previously held the world No. 2 junior ranking; No. 11 Michael Mmoh, 16, from Temple Hills, Md.; No. 43 Henrik Wiersholm, 17, from Kirkland, Wash.; and No. 46 Alex Rybakov, 17, from Coral Springs, Fla.

In addition to Black, who turns 16 on May 12, world No. 12 CiCi Bellis will compete in the girls' main draw at Roland Garros. Bellis, a 15-year-old from Atherton, Calif., will enter the year's second major after winning titles at both the Easter Bowl and International Spring Championship last month, when she became the youngest player ranked in the world's Top 20.

Other Americans participating in the girls’ main draw include No. 29 Sofia Kenin, 15, from Pembroke Pines, Fla.; No. 34 Usue Arconada, 15, from College Park, Md.; and No. 42 Dasha Ivanova, 17, from Beaverton, Ore.

Several U.S. juniors have been accepted into the French Open qualifying tournament, with No. 59 Taylor Fritz (16, Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.); No. 61 Logan Smith (17, Carlsbad, Calif.); No. 70 Dennis Uspensky (17, Atlantic Beach, N.Y.); and No. 165 Noah Rubin (18, Rockville Centre, N.Y.) participating in the boys' qualifying event. Rubin has posted good results in Paris previously, advancing to the third round last year and the quarterfinals in 2012.

Americans in the girls’ qualifying field include No. 52 Johnnise Renaud (17, North Miami, Fla.); No. 53 Katrine Steffensen (18, Scarsdale, N.Y.); No. 56 Kaitlyn McCarthy (16, Cary, N.C.); No. 63 Raveena Kingsley (15, Parkton, Md.); and No. 75 Olivia Hauger (16, Tulsa, Okla.).

An American has advanced to the singles final at three straight junior Grand Slams, with Kozlov reaching the 2014 Australian Open final, Black finshing runner-up at the 2013 US Open and Taylor Townsend advancing to the 2013 Wimbledon championship match. Last year, Louisa Chirico reached the girls’ semifinals at Roland Garros.

In 2011, Bjorn Fratangelo became the first American to win the French Open boys’ singles title since John McEnroe in 1977. The last American to win the French Open girls’ singles title is Jennifer Capriati, who captured the championship in 1989.