US Open Junior Champions Are The Stars Of The Future

NEW YORK, September 10, 2019 (by Michael Dickens)

Remember their names: Jonas Forejtek and Maria Camila Osorio Serrano. They are the tennis stars of the future. On Sunday afternoon, at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, Forejtek of the Czech Republic and Osorio Serrano from Colombia won the United States Open boys’ and girls’ singles titles, respectively.

Forejtek, an 18-year-old native of Pilsen, Czech Republic, came back from down a set to defeat Emilio Nava of the United States, 6-7 (4), 6-0, 6-2, on Louis Armstrong Stadium. He won 12 of the last 14 games of the match. Forejtek became the fourth different Czech to win a boys’ Grand Slam singles title and the first since 2011 when Jiri Vesely won the Wimbledon boys’ junior title.

During the US Open junior boys’ tournament, Forejtek won three three-setters in his final four rounds and defeated three American boys en route to the title.

Meanwhile, fourth-seeded Osorio Serrano won her maiden Grand Slam title in her last junior major by defeating American qualifier Alexandra Yepifanova, 6-1, 6-0, on Court 17. The 17-year-old Colombian opened the final with a service ace, then fired an ace down the T on match point to wrap up her victory in just 48 minutes.

Osorio Serrano, who is coached by former ATP pro Alejandro Falla, celebrated by dropping to her knees and began sobbing tears of joy as the applause grew louder in appreciation of her achievement.

“It’s unreal,” said Osorio Serrano during a press conference after she won. “It’s been a really great week for me – I’m just so happy and thankful for this, I can’t believe I won.”

From 2-1 in the opening set, Osorio Serrano won the final 10 games of her title match to capture the junior girls’ crown. She won 60 of the 93 points contested and broke her opponent in all six of her service games.

Osorio Serrano’s victory was cheered by many Colombian supporters, and it continued her home country’s success that began when Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah won the men’s doubles title on Friday afternoon, becoming the first South American pair to win a US Open title in the Open Era.

“There was a lot of people from Colombia cheering for me,” said Osorio Serrano, a native of  Cucuta, Colombia, who expressed her appreciation for the support she received all week from Colombian fans. “I’m really thankful for this and I want to thank them because the whole week they have been supporting.”

When Forejtek met with the media after his victory, he said of his achievement, “It’s so good. It’s big motivation also for the future.”

Indeed, the future looks good for Forejtek, who moved up to No. 1 in the ITF World Junior Rankings – his ATP Ranking is No. 560 – and became the first Czech boy since Vesely in 2011 to achieve the top junior ranking. He’s off to Bosnia this week to represent the Czech Republic in a Davis Cup Europe/Africa Group I tie.

The future is also promising for Osorio Serrano, who also became the first Colombian girl to be ranked No. 1. Now, she’s looking forward to turning pro and to build upon her current, career-best ranking of No. 227.

“My goal is get into quallies in Australia,” she said. “I will play a lot of pro tournaments. Win some matches and see if I can get in.”

Among the list of past US Open girls’ singles champions, Hall of Famer Lindsay Davenport, served as a Tennis Channel analyst for Saturday evening’s women’s final won by Canadian teenager Bianca Andreescu over Serena Williams, and Victoria Azarenka competed in the women’s doubles final and has won two Australian Open major titles.

As for Forejtek, he joins an elite list of former US Open boys’ singles champions, which covers multiple generations: Stefan Edberg, Andy Roddick, Andy Murray, Jo-Wilfried Tonga, Grigor Dimitrov, Borna Coric and Felix Auger-Aliassime. Not since Dusan Lojda in 2006 has a Czech boy won the U.S. Open junior title.

“They won it, (and) I have to work hard to get at least close to them,” said Forejtek. “So I think it’s motivation and I got a lot of confidence from this.”