Viktoria Azarenka and HEAD Team Elite continued their hot streaks in Grand Slam events at the Junior US Open Sunday at the National Tennis Center in New York.
Seeded number one in recognition of her position atop the ITF junior rankings, Azarenka has held a Grand Slam winner’s trophy at all four events this year. Her 6-3, 6-4 victory over fellow sixteen-year-old Alexa Glatch of the United States gave her bookend singles titles, as she also took the Australian Open title in January.
For a short time this summer Azarenka tried another brand of racquet, but she is delighted to be back with HEAD Team Elite and using her Liquidmetal Instinct again.
“It’s perfect for me,” she said after her semifinal victory. “It feels like part of my hands.”
Azarenka, who lives in Minsk, Belarus but is now training in the United States, has won doubles titles at the Australian, French and Wimbledon Junior Championships this year. She was going for a doubles “Grand Slam,” but Marina Erakovic, her partner for the Australian title, was injured in her third round singles match and was unable to compete in the doubles quarterfinals that afternoon.
“There was nothing to do about it,” said Azarenka of her partner’s unfortunate injury. “She didn’t do it on purpose, it just happened.
Of course it would be nice to win four grand slams. Maybe I can do it on the pro tour,” she joked.
The WTA tour is her next goal, and she heads for events in Asia riding the wave of confidence that comes from winning a junior Grand Slam as well as a $50K Challenger in Luxemborg in July.
“It’s a very good experience,” said Azarenka of her recent professional tournaments. “I had a lot of good matches and I beat a few Top 100 players. Now I will try to play all pro tournaments, and we’ll see how I do.”
Several other Team Elite players had memorable results at the US Junior Open.
Donald Young, the top ranked and seeded junior on the boys’ side, overcame his disappointment at losing in the quarterfinals in singles by taking the doubles title at Flushing Meadows. Pairing with fellow American Alex Clayton, Young used his Liquidmetal Radical MP and his unparalleled creativity to add a Grand Slam Doubles Championship to his January Australian Open Junior Title and his U.S. National Junior title last month in Kalamazoo.
“I’m happy to have won something… at least I’m going home with a trophy,” Young said with a smile after the match.
Clayton and Young, seeded eighth, defeated second seeds Carsten Ball and Thiemo de Bakker 7-6(3), 4-6, 7-5 in a very taut and well-played final. De Bakker, of the Netherlands, is also a HEAD Team Elite player.
Wimbledon Junior Champion Jeremy Chardy was attempting to win back-to-back Grand Slam singles titles, but he fell one match short, falling in the final to Ryan Sweeting of the Bahamas 6-4, 6-4. Chardy, from France, was seeded seventh in the tournament and upset second seed Marin Cilic of Croatia in the quarterfinals. Playing with a Liquidmetal Instinct, Chardy has now climbed to the third spot in the ITF junior rankings, trailing only Young and Sweeting.
Other Team Elite members using Head racquets to advance deep into the draw at the U.S. Junior Open include Americans Liz Plotkin and Tim Smyczek (quarterfinalists) and German Nina Henkel (semifinalist).
HEAD Team Elite is a global sponsorship program with an international long-term strategy. It is a fascinating pool of promising young athletes between 11 and 18 years which is created for bringing up the next generation of top tennis players. The program is executed mainly by HEAD's local representatives. Our most outstanding youngsters are supported directly by HEAD's pro player department.
HEAD Team Elite is encouraging and promoting new up-and-coming tennis players who seriously compete in the world of tennis. They are constantly supported with our latest technology products - HEAD Flexpoint™ and Liquidmetal™ racquets, HEAD bags, HEAD clothing, HEAD strings and grips. Individual player service and various additional activities complete the package and help creating worldwide team spirit.