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Tennis: China’s Xu Shilin captures Junior Masters in Chengdu

Xu Shilin of China and Andrey Rublev won the inaugural ITF Junior Masters event. Photo: ITF.

Xu Shilin of China and Andrey Rublev of Russia won the inaugural ITF Junior Masters event. Photo: ITF.

April 5, 2015: Xu Shilin confirmed her reputation as one of China’s most exciting young talents when the 17-year-old Youth Olympic Games champion won the inaugural thee-day ITF Junior Masters in Chengdu.

 

Due to rain delays on Saturday, Xu – born in Zhongshan in Guangdong province – had to play both her semi-final and final on Sunday at the Sichuan International Tennis Centre.

 

In the morning, Xu survived a tough battle against Jil Teichmann of Switzerland before earning a 7-6(4), 4-6, 6-3 win and a place in the final against Kristina Schmiedlova. The home hope later beat Schmiedlova 6-4, 6-2 in the final on Centre Court, to the delight of vocal local fans.

 

Xu clinched a tight first set when Schmiedlova double-faulted at set point down and then stormed through the second set, breaking serve twice to lead 5-2. With Schmiedlova serving again, Xu brought up two match points and although the Slovak saved the first with an ace, the Chinese star converted the second.

 

“I like the crowd behind me,” said Xu, who was also the crowd darling at last year’s Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing. “I like having the crowd supporting me.”

 

Earlier, top seed Andrey Rublev of Russia came back from a set down to defeat Taylor Fritz of the USA 6-7(2), 6-3, 6-4 in the boys’ final.

 

“It’s the first Masters and it’s always great to be the first, so I’m really happy,” said Rublev, who had announced that this would be his last tournament on the junior circuit and that he will use the wild cards he won to help start his professional career.

 

Duck Hee-lee of Korea and second seed Iryna Shymanovich of Belarus claimed third-place finishes after wins over second seed Orlando Luz (6-3, 7-5) and Teichmann (6-2, 6-2) respectively.

 

The ITF Junior Masters features eight male and eight female players who qualified on the basis of their 18-and-under ITF Junior World Ranking at the end of 2014. Both draws are played on a knockout basis with positional playoffs, with each player guaranteed three matches to determine their final position.

 

The 16 competitors compete for a total prize fund of US$160,000 in travel grants and wild cards offered by the ITF’s member nations and professional tournaments. In Chengdu, the travel grants ranged from US$15,000 for the winners down to $7,000 for the players who finished eighth.

 

Source: ITF (www.itftennis.com); Editing by SportAsia

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