2014 Top 10 Moments: U.S. juniors shine on world stage

December 16, 2014 09:26 AM

By Sally Milano, USTA.com

If 2014 is an indicator, the future of American tennis looks bright, as several of our top junior players gave outstanding performances on the world's biggest stages.

Among them was CiCi Bellis, a 15-year-old phenom from San Francisco, who achieved the No. 1 ranking in the world in September and is currently listed at No. 2 in the ITF World Junior Rankings. Bellis posted a number of outstanding results in 2014, capturing titles at the Easter Bowl, International Spring Championships and USTA National Championships, where she became the youngest USTA Girls’ 18s national champion since Lindsay Davenport won the title at age 15 in 1991.

With her victory at the National Championships, Bellis earned a wild card into the US Open women's main draw, and she became the darling of New York after shocking No. 12 seed Dominika Cibulkova, this year’s Australian Open runner-up, in the first round.

Noah Rubin also had great success in 2014, winning the Wimbledon boys' singles title in July and, one month later, sweeping both the boys' 18s singles and doubles titles at the prestigious USTA National Championships in Kalamazoo, Mich.

At Wimbledon, Rubin, a qualifier in the tournament, squared off against No. 6 seed Stefan Kozlov in the first all-American boys' final at the All-England Club since 1977, when Van Winitsky defeated Eliot Teltscher for the championship. Rubin posted a 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 victory over Kozlov in the 2014 final to become just the second American boy since 1994 to capture a junior singles title at Wimbledon. He has since graduated from the junior ranks and began playing college tennis this fall at Wake Forest University.

In addition to finishing runner-up to Rubin at Wimbledon, where he also reached the doubles final, 16-year-old Kozlov of Pembroke Pines, Fla., also advanced to the boys’ singles final at the 2014 Australian Open. Currently listed at No. 4 in the boys’ world rankings, Kozlov reached a career-high ranking of No. 2 in the world in January and recently became the youngest player in the Top 500 of the ATP professional rankings.

While Bellis, Rubin and Kozlov led the way, several other American juniors, such as Easter Bowl champion and US Open boys’ semifinalist Francis Tiafoe, also had big years in 2014. For more information on those players and other American junior news, click here.


To view all top 10 stories from 2014, visit the Year in Review homepage.