New York, NY – September 2, 2018: Thiago Seyboth Wild of Brazil returns ball against Zane Khan of USA during 1st round of Boys’ Singles at US Open Championships on USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center (Photo: Lev Radin/Gildshire)
While the brightest lights and the biggest names were on the U.S. Open last week, another tournament was going on simultaneously to the bigger show. The U.S. Open Juniors took place in New York at the same time as the U.S. Open and the results were a picture of world-class tennis for decades to come. The competition was as hot as the temperatures for these young men and women. Gildshire’s Lev Radin was on hand with photographic evidence that the future of professional tennis is in good hands.
On the young men’s side of things, 18-year-old Thiago Seyboth Wild was the winner. The hard-hitting Brazilian survived a tough three-set match against Italy’s Lorenzo Musetti to capture the title, 6-1, 2-6, 6-2. It was only Wild’s second three-set match of the tournament and his first since he dropped the first set, 7-6, in his Round of 64 match against American Zane Khan. This was Mr. Wild’s third title. He previously won the Brazil F1 Futures earlier this year and the Turkey F42 Futures in 2017. At 6’0″, 170 pounds he has room to mature physically and will be a bright light on the adult circuit in the years to come. His doubles game isn’t as refined as his singles stylings, but he’s working hard under coach Arthur Rabelo to improve there, as well.
The young ladies’ draw turned out to be exciting, as well. China’s Xiju Wang bested France’s Clara Burel, 7-6, 6-2 to win the title. The bigger and stronger Wang wore down her smaller opponent in the stifling New York City heat that plagued the U.S. Open this year. Ms. Wang is on a serious victory run!. She previously topped the winner’s circle in July when she was victorious in Thailand at the $25,000 Nonthaburi Championship, and in Japan when she won the $25,000 Tsukuba title.
The young men’s doubles finals of the U.S. Open Juniors competition saw one of the most exciting finishes of the tennis season to date. Bulgarian Adrian Andreev and Great Britain’s Anton Matusevich faced off against the American duo of Emilio Nava and Axel Nefve. The two teams had split the first two sets, each side winning by a count of 6-2. But, the third set was the one that had the fans on the edge of their seats. The two teams exchanged smashes, volleys, and service aces until Andreev and Matusevich won 10-8. The win was especially heartening for Andreev/Matusevich because it wasn’t the first time they were pushed to the limit in this tournament. Indeed, both the semifinal and quarterfinal matches were high-scoring affairs. The eventual winners defeated The Netherland’s Jasper De Long and Switzerland’s Damien Winger 3-6, 6-4, (10-8) in the semis. The quarterfinals fell to Andreev/Matusevich 6-3, 3-6, (10-4) over Spain’s Nicolas Alvarez Varona and Brazil’s Gilbert Soares Klier Jr.
It was an All-American final for the young women’s doubles title, as the American stable of doubles talent is both strong and deep. This time out it was Cori Gauff and Cati McNally who bested Hailey Baptiste and Dalayna Hewitt 6-3, 6-2 to win the title. The Gauff/McNally duo was never seriously threatened on their run to the title. They never needed a third set and only lost four games in a set one time, that to the Russian team of Taisya Pachkaleva and Anastasia Tikhonova in the tourney’s second round.
As exciting as the finals matches are at any major tennis tournament, the players in the “Ones to Watch” category are always an interesting study, as well. On the men’s side of things, the USA up and comer Jenson Brooksby would fall into this category. Only 17 years of age, Mr. Brooksby made it to the semis in New York last week, only succumbing to the aforementioned Lorenzo Musetti. Brooksby is a product of the highly regarded JMG Academy at Arden Hills and is considered about equally as proficient in doubles as he is in singles.
One to watch on the female side of the net is American Emmy Navarro. Also 17 years old, Ms. Navarro was one of eventual winner Xiju Wang’s more difficult outings in this tournament, going down 6-3, 6-3 in the first round. More known for doubles than singles, Ms. Navarro is working hard to improve her singles game even as she continues to play strong doubles tennis.
Is the tennis’ future as bright as its past? The U.S. Open Junors suggests it is indeed.