Dimitrov Claims Second Junior Major Title

September 11, 2008

Austria, Kennelbach — HEAD Team Elite’s Grigor Dimitrov completed his junior career with a second consecutive boys Major title, capturing the US Open title and the No. 1 spot in the ITF world rankings with a 6-4, 6-3 win over American Devin Britton in the championship match. Dimitrov’s win is the third boys junior Major title for Team Elite, with Australian Bernard Tomic taking his home country’s championship in January.

Having won the Wimbledon boys title in July without dropping a set, Dimitrov was one of the pre-tournament favourites in New York, and the 17-year-old Bulgarian didn’t disappoint. The No. 3 seed’s closest match was played indoors due to rains from tropical storm Hanna. Trailing 2-0 in the third set, Dimitrov won the final six games of the match to get past No. 1 seed Tsung-Hua Yang of Chinese Taipei 6-3, 5-7, 6-2.

“The beginning was so-so because I was getting into the draw and stuff,” Dimitrov said of his performance over the course of the week. “I was not trying to impress someone or do something. I just wanted to just play every match and play well … I played pretty good against Yang. It was a very good match.”

Against Britton, the first qualifier to reach the US Open Junior finals, Dimitrov was at his best, returning well and running down the volleys of the net-loving American.

“I was feeling very calm when I was playing the match,” said Dimitrov, who uses a MicroGEL Prestige Mid. “Devin gave me a hard time in the first set, and especially in the beginning of the second. But I found a way to manage my game.”

Britton broke Dimitrov for the only time in the third game of the second set, but couldn’t hold in the fourth, and the American lost his serve again after a lengthy game at 2-3 to give Dimitrov control of the match.

Dimitrov will now play exclusively in professional events, with an eye toward improving his ATP ranking, now in the 700s.

“The goal is to be top 10 player in the ATP, right? Everyone wants to do it, so we’ll see what’s going to happen.”

HEAD Team Elite members were prominent in the junior doubles competition as well, with Team Elite players Cedrik-Marcel Stebe of Germany and his partner Nikolaus Moser of Austria winning the boys doubles championship. Stebe, who uses the MicroGEL Radical MP and Moser, an unseeded pairing, squeezed past No. 2 seeds and French Open boys doubles champions Henri Kontinen of Finland and Christopher Rungkat of Indonesia 7-6(5), 3-6, 10-8. Team Elite member Kontinen, who uses the MicroGEL Prestige MP, and his partner Rungkat had the misfortune of seeing a net-cord winner skip over their heads on match point in the ten-point tiebreaker that decided the contest. Kontinen, Stebe and Buchanan, who use the MicroGEL Radical MP, also reached the quarterfinals in the singles competition.

American Sloane Stephens also had outstanding results in New York, and not just in the junior championships. Stephens, who uses the MicroGEL Prestige Mid, and her partner Robert Kendrick, also from the U.S., upset top seeds Daniel Nestor and Chia-Jung Chuang 6-1, 6-4 in the opening round of mixed doubles. Stephens then paired with Mallory Burdette, also of the U.S., to reach the girls doubles final, where they fell to the No. 3 seeded team of Noppawan Lertcheewakarn of Thailand and Sandra Roma of Sweden 6-0, 6-2.

“We’ve had some good matches and we’ve done pretty well,” Stephens said. “It’s been a great opportunity, and I’m just happy we made the finals.”

With her win over Melinda Czink in the first round of women’s qualifying in New York, the 15-year-old Stephens is now ranked inside the WTA Top 500.