A bright contingent of junior stars ready to shine
By Jerry Magee
UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER
September 19, 2006
At 15, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia is the world's ranking junior girls tennis player, her ranking exceeding those of 18-year-olds. She has played World Team Tennis for the Sacramento Capitals.
During the junior phase of the U.S. Open (which she would win), Pavlyuchenkova was playing one of her matches before an audience that included two tennis instructors familiar with the progress of Coco Vandeweghe, a 14-year-old from Rancho Santa Fe who is viewed as a tennis prospect of the highest sort.
Comparisons were sought.
Said Lorne Kuhle of the Bobby Riggs Tennis Club in Encinitas: “To me, this girl could not play with the pros, but when I watched Coco play at the Acura Classic, she was right there with a pro (Katerina Bondarenko). Potential wise, Coco can go out and play with pros right now. If she were playing with them, her game would skyrocket, just like it did for Serena Williams. Boom! She took off.”
Said Larry Willens, a volunteer assistant coach at San Diego State: “This girl's game is just very, very solid. The thing that stands out about her is that she works the point, uses all the court, just does a lot of different things. She has no weakness at all.”
Pavlyuchenkova is a name for the game's future books. From Samara, Russia, she is poised, advanced tactically and appears very fit. The No. 1 seed in the Open's junior competition, she upheld her seeding by defeating Tamira Paszek of Austria, a No. 11 seed, 3-6, 6-4, 7-5 in the final.
Q. Now you are the No. 1 of your family, in this moment. DINARA SAFINA: Yeah (smiling).Q. Yes, it's true. Are you happy? DINARA SAFINA:
Yeah, very (smiling). No, I mean, you cannot compare me and my brother. I am No. 1, but when he will put
gasoline in himself, he will be again No. 1. But I have to enjoy my time at least when I am now No. 1 (smiling).