By Sally Milano, USTA.com
Four Americans ranked in the Top 10 of the ITF World Junior Rankings – 16-year-old Francis Tiafoe of College Park, Md.; 16-year-old Stefan Kozlov of Pembroke Pines, Fla.; 15-year-old CiCi Bellis of Atherton, Calif.; and 16-year-old Tornado Alicia Black of Boca Raton, Fla. – will lead a strong U.S. contingent into the main draw of the Wimbledon Junior Championships, which will be held from June 28 to July 6 in London.
Bellis, the No. 2-ranked junior in the world and the reigning Easter Bowl champion, and No. 4 Black, the 2013 US Open junior finalist, lead a field of eight American girls accepted into the main draw. The others are No. 29 Sofia Kenin (15, Pembroke Pines, Fla.), No. 34 Usue Arconada (15, College Park, Md.), No. 36 Dasha Ivanova (17, Beaverton, Ore.), No. 50 Katrine Steffensen (18, Scarsdale, N.Y.), No. 57 Kaitlyn McCarthy (16, Cary, N.C.) and No. 60 Raveena Kingsley (15, Parkton, Md.).
Kozlov, a 2014 Australian Open junior finalist and the top-ranked American boy in the world rankings at No. 6, and eighth-ranked Tiafoe – both of whom have held the world No. 2 ranking this year – are joined in the main draw by No. 12 Michael Mmoh (16, Temple Hills, Md.), No. 24 Alex Rybakov (17, Coral Springs, Fla.), No. 50 Henrik Wiersholm (17, Kirkland, Wash.) and No. 54 Logan Smith (17, Carlsbad, Calif.).
Accepted into the girls’ qualifying field are No. 78 Michaela Gordon (14, Los Altos Hills, Calif.), No. 87 Olivia Hauger (16, Tulsa, Okla.) and No. 99 Raquel Pedraza (16, Claremont, Calif.), while No. 46 Taylor Fritz (16, Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.), No. 68 Dennis Uspensky (17, Atlantic Beach, N.Y.) and Noah Rubin (18, Rockville Centre, N.Y.) are set to compete in the boys’ singles qualifying draw.
Last year, Taylor Townsend reached the Wimbledon girls’ singles final, and last month the 18-year-old from Chicago made her Grand Slam main-draw debut at the French Open, advancing to the third round. Previous American junior singles champions at Wimbledon include Donald Young (2007), Chanda Rubin (1992), Zina Garrison (1981) and Tracy Austin (1978).