Monfils Goes For Grand Slam
Monfils Goes For Grand Slam
As the senior events approach the halfway stage at Flushing Meadows, the junior event gets underway on Sunday with attention firmly focused on Gael Monfils. The Frenchman is bidding to become only the second player to win all four junior Grand Slam titles in one year, a feat Stefan Edberg of Sweden achieved in 1983.
Monfils, who will undoubtedly end the year as junior World Champion, dominated the Australian and French Opens and, although contesting many tighter matches, still proved to be a class above the rest on the unfamiliar grass of Wimbledon. He will start as a strong favourite.
The US will provide the majority of the likely opposition: Alex Kuznetsov reached the final at Roland Garros, while Brendan Evans has reached at least the last eight of all three Grand Slams this year. Recently-crowned 18 & under US National champion, Scoville Jenkins has already had a taste of the event after playing Andy Roddick in the men’s singles and together with Evans and Kuznetsov will be eager to do well at home. Jenkins also reached the quarterfinals last year.
Britain’s Andrew Murray has shown a welcome return to form over the summer and will hope to improve on his quarterfinal showing in 2003 while Andreas Beck, of Germany, makes his junior Grand Slam debut after a good year on the ITF Futures Circuit and could also mount a challenge.
In contrast to the boys’ event, there is no overwhelming favourite in the girls’ event. Ukraine’s Kateryna Bondarenko, a semifinalist last year, bids to add to the junior Wimbledon crown that she took in July while Israeli Shahar Peer, the junior Australian Open champion, has shown that she can thrive on the big occasion. Bondarenko suffered a disappointing third-round loss in the Canadian Open while Peer has reached the semifinals there. Fellow semifinalist Timea Bacsinszky, of Switzerland has made solid progress this year and reached the semifinals in Australia and at Roland Garros and is another player in form.
Dutch player Michaella Krajicek was a finalist in 2003 and will look to gain something from a disappointing 2004 by her high standards. An early defeat in last week’s Canadian Open won’t have helped her confidence but, on her day, the talented Dutch player is capable of beating anyone in the field. American hopes will rest on the shoulders of Jessica Kirkland, who is taking time away from a successful year on the professional tour to try to win a junior Grand Slam.
The juniors weblet will contain daily results, news, reports and photos throughout next week
Guillermo Coria | David Nalbandian | Juan Martin del Potro
Tomas Berdych | Marcos Baghdatis | Gilles Muller | Novak Djokovic | Janko Tipsarevic | Nicolas Kiefer | Dudi Sela | Richard Gasquet