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Defending Champion, World No. 1 Target Australian Open Junior Titles

After winning the Australian Open girls title last year unseeded, Tereza Mihalikova returns to Melbourne to defend her title, a rare occurrence in junior tennis. The 17-year-old Slovakian, the only junior slam champion in either of this year's boys and girls fields, has had mixed results since her title last year, winning only four matches in the three junior slams since.

2015 Australian Open Junior Champion Tereza Mihalikova
© Zoo Tennis
Hungary's Mate Valkusz, who recently took over the top spot in the International Tennis Federation's world junior rankings, will be the top seed in the boys draw, but the 17-year-old has yet to reach the third round in a junior slam and retired in the first round of the Grade 1 warmup event in Traralgon.

Five other ITF Top 10 players, with varying levels of experience in the late stages of slams, are in the boys field. Orange Bowl champion Miomir Kecmanovic of Serbia, who reached the semifinals in Traralgon, is poised to improve on his 2015 slam results, which saw the 16-year-old fail to reach the third round in any of the four.

Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece, who lost to Kecmanovic in the Orange Bowl final after beating Valkusz in the semifinals, has had the most success on the ITF Men's Pro Circuit, winning a Futures title in November and sporting a 576 ATP ranking, the best in the field. The 17-year-old, who also reached the semifinals in Traralgon, was a quarterfinalist last year in the Australian Open championships, his best result in the four junior slams.

Felix Auger-Aliassime of Canada is a favorite for the title, despite appearing in just his second junior slam, with the US Open his first. The 15-year-old phenom has won only one match in his two tournaments since capturing the Eddie Herr title in dramatic fashion in early December however, losing in the first round of the Traralgon Grade 1 to a qualifier.

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Page updated on Monday, March 11, 2019
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