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2022 US Open: Top American juniors, including New Jersey native, take the courts

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US Open 2022
Roberto Bautista Agut, of Spain, serves to J.J. Wolf, of the United States, during the first round of the US Open tennis championships, Monday, Aug. 29, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

As the main men’s and women’s draws of the US Open start to wind towards the finish, the top juniors in the world are just getting started. 

Sunday marks the beginning of the boys and girls tournaments at the US Open, filled with potential future tennis household names. Past American stars like Andy Roddick, Lindsay Davenport, and Jennifer Capriati all won titles at the US Open Juniors before turning pro and joining the big tour. 

This year’s US Open Juniors tournament will feature two seeded boys players and two seeded girls players, but a handful of Americans on either side. So who are the names you should know?

Top American Boys Players

One name you won’t see is Bruno Kuzuhara, who is the top-ranked American boys’ player and 3rd boy’s player in the country. After winning his first match in qualifying, he was shockingly bounced in straight sets in his second match and didn’t make the main draw. 

Nishesh R. Basavareddy

ITF Ranking: 8th

With Kuzuhara out, Basavareddy is the top American seed on the boys’ side. The 17-year-old is 27-9 in 2022 and won one tournament on the juniors tour, but he only made it to the second round at Wimbledon. However, his tournament win in Milan included a victory over Daniel Vallejo of Paraguay, who is the top-ranked junior in the world, so Basavareddy has proven he can play with anybody.

He was awarded the 4th seed in this tournament and will face the 51st-ranked junior Dylan Dietrich of Switzerland. 

 

Michael Zheng

ITF Ranking: 25th

The 17-year-old from Montville, NJ is 32-12 in 2022 and won a tournament title in Colombia back in January. He also reached two other finals including the boys’ tournament at Wimbledon. He’s taken his game to another level this year thanks to also attending Dwight Global Online so that he can train more often in New Jersey. Zheng is going to stay local for college too and will be attending Columbia University.

He was awarded the 16th seed in this tournament and will face the 70th-ranked junior Boris Zgola of Poland. 

 

Nicholas Godsick

ITF Ranking: 27th

Godsick started the year strong, winning a tournament in January in Ecuador, but is just 15-13 in 2022. He’s lost in the first round in seven straight tournaments, so he will be looking to right the ship here at the US Open. He’s unseeded and will take on Yaroslav Demin of Russia in the first round. Demin is seeded 14th and ranked 22nd in the world. 

 

Alex Michelsen

ITF Ranking: 30th

The 18-year-old Michelsen has had a strong year this year, going 21-10 in 2022 and also reaching the Wimbledon final in doubles while playing with Vallejo, the aforementioned. #1 player in the world. Michelsen has been heating up with the summer, winning Indian Wells in April (defeating Basavareddy in the finals) and then reaching the finals of Roehampton in Great Britain in late June. 

He is unseeded and will face Tanapatt Nirundorn of Thailand, ranked 49th in the world, in the first round. 

 

Learner Tien

ITF Ranking: 4oth

Learner Thien is an interesting case because the 16-year-old actually played in the Men’s draw of the US Open. He also won the first set off of 32nd-seed Miomir Kecmanovic before losing the next three. On the junior circuit, Tien is 28-12 in 2022 and won the tournament title in San Diego back in March. Tien reached the quarter-finals in Wimbledon juniors and will be looking to build off of that in his first-round match against Lautaro Midon of Argentina, who is the 6th seed in the tournament and the 11th-ranked junior in the world. 

 

Top American Girls Players

Liz Hovde

ITF Ranking: 4th

The 17-year-old has had a tremendous year, going 35-5 in 2022 including three tournament titles. Her last tournament win was at Wimbledon, where she lost just one set during the whole girls’ tournament. She also won Roehampton in late June, reached the finals of Milan in May, and won the San Diego tournament in March, which means that Hovde has won 26 of her last 28 tournament matches. 

She was awarded the 3rd seed in this tournament and will face the 59th-ranked junior Aruzhan Sagandikova of Kazakhstan in the first round. 

 

Qavia Lopez

ITF Ranking: 20th

There’s a bit of a drop-off between Hovde and the rest of the American girls, but Lopez is next up after going 24-14 in 2022. She lost in the first round in Lexington in early August and the second round in Wimbledon, so she’ll be looking to find better form in the US Open. 

She was awarded the 14th seed in this tournament and will face the 33rd-ranked junior Anastasiya Lopata of Ukraine in the first round. 

 

Clervie Ngounoue

ITF Ranking: 24th

The 16-year-old hasn’t played as many matches as some of her counterparts this year, going 17-7 in 2022. However, she is 10-3 in her last three tournaments, so she is coming into the US Open playing fairly strong tennis. She gets a really tough draw in the first round, playing 6th seed Nikola Daubnerova, who is ranked 8th in the world. 

 

Alexis Blokhina

ITF Ranking: 32nd

The 18-year-old has had a solid year, going 22-10 in 2022, including a win at Indian Wells back in early April. However, she is just 3-3 in her last three tournaments, so she will be looking to find a bit better form at the US Open. She is unseeded at the tournament but draws 43rd-ranked Amelie Van Impe in the first round.

For more US Open coverage, like this top juniors story, visit amNY Sports

Liz Hovde is the top ranked American girl at the US Open
Liz Hovde is the top ranked American girl at the US Open (wikimedia commons)

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