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Saturday, May 31, 2014

French Junior Championships Begin Sunday with a Dozen Americans in Action

Francis Tiafoe is the top seed and Stefan Kozlov is seeded No. 6 in Paris

The draws are out for the French Open Junior Championships, which begin Sunday in Paris.

There are a total of 14 American juniors--seven boys and seven girls--in the main draw, with 11 receiving direct entry, Noah Rubin and Raveena Kingsley qualifying and Taylor Fritz receiving a special exemption for making the semifinals in the Grade 1 in Belgium.

There are 48 junior matches on Sunday's schedule--24 boys and 24 girls--with all Americans except Kingsley and Henrik Wiersholm playing their opening matches on the first day.

Orange Bowl champion Francis Tiafoe is the top seed, and he will begin his quest for his first junior slam title against French wild card Clement Larriere of France. No. 6 seed Stefan Kozlov, the 2014 Australian Open boys finalist, plays Ryotero Matsumura of Japan. Michael Mmoh, the No. 11 seed, faces Wei Qiang Zheng of China and Rubin takes on fellow qualifier Bastin Malla of Chile, who, like Rubin, also has an ATP ranking inside the Top 700.  Alex Rybakov takes on Chan Yeong-Oh of Korea and Fritz also plays a Korean, Ku Keon Kang, on Sunday.

No. 2 seed in the tournament is Orlando Luz of Brazil, with No. 3 Karen Khachanov of Russia getting his seed based on his ATP of 417. Sixteen-year-old Russian Andrey Rublev, who just won a $15,000 Futures in Moscow today, his third in the past seven months, is seeded fourth, and should be considered a serious threat for the title.

Ivana Jorovic of Serbia is the top seed in the girls draw, with Italian Open champion CiCi Bellis No. 2 and Tornado Alicia Black No. 3.  Bellis has drawn Kimberly Birrell of Australia, ranked No. 21, as her first round opponent Sunday, so that is not an easy start for Bellis, who has lost only one junior match this year.

Black plays Paula Badosa Gibert of Spain, while Sofia Kenin meets qualifer Tereza Mihalikova of Slovakia. Usue Arconada takes on Bianca Turtati of Italy, Katrine Steffensen plays 2013 quarterfinalist and No. 11 seed Kristina Schmiedlova of Slovakia, and Dasha Ivanova has drawn qualifier Rebecca Sramkova, also of Slovakia.

For complete draws and schedule see the French Open website.