It is a few weeks before Christmas, which means it’s time for the world’s top junior tennis players to descend on South Florida.
The 18-unders and 16-unders are up first this week in the Metropolia Orange Bowl International Championship at the Frank Veltri Tennis Center in Plantation. The U14s and U12s follow later in the month in the Jr. Orange Bowl Championship at various Coral Gables sites.
Among the players to watch on the clay courts this week are Alexander Zverev of Germany, the world’s top-ranked boy, seventh-ranked Johan Sebastien Tatlot of France, and 2013 U.S. Open junior finalist Tornado Alicia Black, a 15-year-old who trains in Boca Raton.
The boys’ 18s field also includes Stefan Kozlov, a 15-year-old from Pembroke Pines who made his ATP main draw debut at Newport, R.I., in July, and nearly defeated No. 113-ranked Michal Przysiezny. Three other American 15-year-olds in the draw are No. 19 Michael Mmoh (Temple Hills, Md.), and No. 38 Francis Tiafoe (College Park, Md.).
On the girls’ side, keep an eye on Black, who is ranked No. 11 in the world and reached the final of the U.S. Open junior tournament as an unseeded wild card. The top-ranked girl in the field is fifth-ranked Russia’s Varvara Flink.
Locals to watch include: Alex Rybakov (16, Coral Springs), Tommy Paul (16, Coconut Creek), Alex Knight (16, Miami Shores), Johnnise Renaud (17, North Miami), Rianna Valdes (17, Boca Raton), Madison Bourguignon (16, Boynton Beach), and Katerina Stewart (16, Miami).