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Florida's Kozlov R-up at Australian Open Jrs; More

January 27, 2014 08:48 AM
Florida Tennis Briefs(2): Kozlov R-up at Aussie Open Jrs.; Orlando Team Tennis

Florida's Kozlov R-up at Australian Open Juniors

Kozlov_Stefan_cynthia_lumFifteen-year-old Floridian Stefan Kozlov of Pembroke Pines finished runner-up at the Australian Open junior boys competition over the weekend, losing to top-seeded Alexander Zverev of Germany 6-3, 6-0 in Melbourne.

He became the first American boy to reach a Grand Slam juniors final since 2011. After losing a tight first set, Kozlov rolled his ankle early in the second set which made the end result just a matter of time.

"I rolled my ankle twice in the past two days, each one," Kozlov said. "I was definitely a little scared, a little bit of pain.  But I needed to make points more aggressive because couldn't really run. Both my ankles I rolled, so it was kind of tough."

Kozlov entered the final with a 3-0 head-to-head career advantage over his opponent.

"I think he played pretty well and I think the courts favor him here, really fast," Kozlov said. "He played really well, so just give him credit."

The No. 2 seed, Kozlov advanced to his first Grand Slam junior singles final and became the first American boy to reach the singles final at a junior Grand Slam since Bjorn Fratangelo won the French Open boys' title in 2011. Donald Young (2005) and Andy Roddick (2000) are the only Americans to win the Australian Open boys' singles championship. Taylor Townsend won the girls' singles title in 2012.

Kozlov said playing on Rod Laver Arena was a challenge.

"It was really tough because, I don't know, it's definitely a lot different because the ball is just slower through will the air," he said. "I mean, my first four serves I hit on Rod Laver I shanked them into the ground. I was like, 'This is ridiculous.' So the ball definitely goes up slower and overheads, they just stay in the air I guess because we're a little underground."

Kozlov, who trains with both his father, Andrei, and USTA National Coach Nicolas Todero out of the USTA Training Center Headquarters in Boca Raton, Fla., projects to rise to No. 2 in the world junior rankings for all players ages 18 and under.
"This is an exciting and well-deserved achievement for Stefan," said Patrick McEnroe, general manager of USTA Player Development. "We are incredibly proud and are happy for him, his family and the team in Boca."

Orlando Kids Team Tennis Challenge Entries Close Feb. 5

JTT-Sun-2Entries close Feb. 5 for the USTA Florida Team Tennis Challenge in Orlando, presented by Wilson Racquet Sports, and hosted by the Lake Cane Tennis Center on Feb. 15-16, 2014.

The two-day tournament will host teams with a minimum of two boys and two girls, and no more than eight players per team. Age divisions include 12-under, 14-under, and 18-under, with three skill divisions: novice, intermediate and advanced.

These "BYOT" (bring your own team) events do not require previous team tennis league participation. Both USTA members and non-members can participate, with USTA members receiving a $10 discount on registration. Team registration closes on Feb. 5, 2014. To register go to http://ustaflorida.com/teamtennischallenges.

"The partnership with USTA Florida Team Tennis Challenges is a great fit for Wilson Racquet Sports and our shared vision to attract more youth participation," said Erika Offerdahl, promotions manager for Wilson Racquet Sports.

Coaches and players can also connect with USTA Florida via Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #BYOTeamTennis.

For more information or to register go to http://ustaflorida.com/teamtennischallenges.





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