Wednesday, December 30, 2015

2015 Review: American Teenagers (ATP)

This is a follow up to the 10 American Teenagers to Watch in 2015 (ATP).  So how did they do?  Continue reading to find out.
Jared Donaldson © LangTennis

Jared Donaldson 

Age: 19 (09 Oct 1996)
Height: 6-3
Plays: Right Handed (Double Handed Backhand)
2015 Year End ATP Ranking: 135
2014 Year End ATP Ranking: 260
Career High ATP Ranking: 133 (11/02/15)

2015 Highlights: The year of firsts for the lanky Rhode Island teenager.  Donaldson continued his momentum from 2014 and rose 125 spots to finish inside the ATP 150 for the first time.  He captured his first challenger title at the $50K Maui, won his first ATP tour level match at the Memphis Open, won his first masters match in Cincinnati and beating American veteran Tim Smyczek for the first time after losing three straight matches the year before.  Jared went 4-7 at the ATP tour level and 29-15 at the challenger level in 2015.


Taylor Harry Fritz

Age: 18 (28 Oct 1997)
Height: 6-4
Plays: Right Handed (Double Handed Backhand)
2015 Year End ATP Ranking: 177
2014 Year End ATP Ranking: 1141
Career High ATP Ranking: 176 (11/23/2015)

2015 Highlights: The 2015 Junior US Open Champion and Roland Garros Finalist had the biggest jump of any American.  The 18 year old garnered his first ATP level win in Nottingham, defeating Pablo Carreno Busta.  Overall, Fritz went 27-11 collecting two challenger titles ($100K Sacramento, $50K Fairfield) in three finals.  The results propelled him into the Top 200, making him one of the three American teens to do so.  The ITF Junior Champion had finally convinced his parents to let him turn pro; he signed with CAA Sports over the summer.

Frances Tiafoe 

Age: 17 (20 Jan 1998)
Height: 6-2
Plays: Right Handed (Double Handed Backhand)
2015 Year End ATP Ranking: 180
2014 Year End ATP Ranking: 1136
Career High ATP Ranking:  178  (11/23/2015)

2015 Highlights: After becoming the youngest Orange Bowl winner in 2013, a lot of expectations were placed on this young man and he didn't disappoint.  The 17 year old compiled a 41-24 record in 2015.  He made two challenger finals including one at Tallahassee that won him the USTA French Open wildcard. Tiafoe made three futures finals, winning his first pro title at the USA F10.  Frances also qualified for the Winston-Salem Open and won his first ATP tour match there (def. James Duckworth).  

Frances Tiafoe © LangTennis

Tommy Paul

Age: 18 (17 May 1997)
Height: 6-2
Plays: Right Handed (Double Handed Backhand)
2015 Year End ATP Ranking: 274
2014 Year End ATP Ranking: 946
Career High ATP Ranking: 263 (11/09/2015)

2015 Highlights: The youngster that crashed the 21&U Predictions Party.  Despite focusing on the pro circuit, the 18 year old hoisted the trophy at the Junior Roland Garros and finished runner up at the Junior US Open.  In the pro circuit, Paul was fairly successful at the futures and challenger level.  He won two clay futures titles in Europe and made his first challenger final in Charlottesville (had MPs to take the lead of the USTA AO WC Challenge).  Paul also successfully qualified for the US Open main draw.  His impressive runs earned him a contract with Roger Federer's sport agency Team8 Global. 

Noah Rubin

Age: 19 (21 Feb 1996) 
Height: 5-10
Plays: Right Handed (Double Handed Backhand)
2015 Year End ATP Ranking: 340
2014 Year End ATP Ranking: 591
Career High ATP Ranking: 317 (11-09-15)

2015 Highlights: After reaching the NCAA final, Rubin made the decision to go pro.  The Wake Forest Deacon had a great start to his pro career going 22-12 since June including a first challenger title in Charlottesville that garnered him the USTA Australian Open wildcard.   

Noah Rubin © LangTennis

Stefan Kozlov

Age: 17 (01 Feb 1998)  
Height: 6-0
Plays: Right Handed (Double Handed Backhand)
2015 Year End ATP Ranking: 353
2014 Year End ATP Ranking: 467
Career High ATP Ranking: 353 (11/30/2015)

2015 Highlights: After reaching the $100K Sacramento final in 2014, the former junior standout struggled a bit at the challenger level, but managed to reach two quarterfinals in Maui and Charlottesville.  The 17 year old finally won his first pro singles title at the Belarus F4 after losing three straight futures finals.  Kozlov compiled an impressive 30-11 record at the futures level.  He won a challenger doubles title in Maui with Donaldson.

Stefan Kozlov © LangTennis

Deiton Baughman

Age: 19 (23 Apr 1996)
Height: 6-5
Plays: Right Handed (Double Handed Backhand)
2015 Year End ATP Ranking: 359
2014 Year End ATP Ranking: 799
Career High ATP Ranking:  341 (10/26/2015)

2015 Highlights: Flying under the radar, Baughman quietly went 38-19 in the futures.  The tall lanky teenager, who loved playing on clay, collected two titles on this surface and one trophy on hard court.  Deiton played only three challengers late this year, winning a round in Medellin.  He won a qualifying round at Winston-Salem Open where I was in attendance.

Deiton Baughman © LangTennis

Ernesto Escobedo

Age: 19 (04 Jul 1996)
Height: 6-2
Plays: Right Handed (Double Handed Backhand)
2015 Year End ATP Ranking: 390
2014 Year End ATP Ranking: 533
Career High ATP Ranking: 388 (11/23/2015)

2015 Highlights: After a slow start, Escobedo reached the first of  his three futures finals in May.  The Californian fell in all of his finals, dropping his career record to 0-5.  However, he made a breakthrough at the challenger level reaching the semifinal at the $100K Monterrey and bested a new career high. Ernesto finished the season with a 28-18 win-loss record. He is one of the two teenagers on this list that I saw live two years in a row (Noah Rubin).

Ernesto Escobedo © LangTennis

Michael Mmoh

Age: 17 (10 Jan 1998)
Height: 6-2
Plays: Right Handed (Double Handed Backhand)
2015 Year End ATP Ranking: 456
2014 Year End ATP Ranking: 646
Career High ATP Ranking: 385 (10/26/2015)

2015 Highlights: Mmoh played a mix of Junior and ATP tournaments.  Of his thirteen pro events, he collected 21 wins including two futures titles.  The IMG student competed in three challengers, advancing to the quarterfinals of $50K Las Vegas. 

Reilly Opelka

Age: 18 (28 Aug 1997)
Height: 6-11
Plays: Right Handed (Double Handed Backhand)
2015 Year End ATP Ranking: 975
2014 Year End ATP Ranking: 1198
Career High ATP Ranking: 868 (09/14/2015)

2015 Highlights: The big man won the Junior Wimbledon Champion, but played only eight pro tournaments.  Opelka made two futures quarterfinals and advanced to the second round of qualifying of the US Open men tournament. Like other successful juniors this year, Reilly decided to turn pro.  The Palm Coast teen signed with Lagardere Unlimited Agency.

In general, everybody did well reaching new career highs 👍.  Will be fun to follow their progress next year.  To see my and others' 21&U predictions for next year at On The Rise blog, click here.

Will try to do the Girls review next week. Have a happy holidays.


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