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Top Juniors Headline Roland Garros Junior Field

By Adrianna Outlaw

Youth will be serving, returning and volleying on the red clay of Roland Garros next month. The International Tennis Federation announced that nine of the top 10 girls and eight of the top 10 boys in the current ITF junior rankings have committed to competing in the Roland Garros Junior Championships, June 1st-8th.

Top-ranked Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus, who celebrates his 18th birthday on June 17th, will be bidding for his second career junior Grand Slam title. American Chris Kwon, a Grade A tournament winner and Great Britain's David Brewer, who captured the Banana Bowl, are among the other prominent juniors in the field.

Defending champion Richard Gasquet, the highly-touted 16-year-old French player who currently holds the second spot in the ITF junior rankings, has been awarded a wild card into the men's singles main draw and does not plan to play the junior event.

On the girls' side, top-ranked Russian Vera Douchevina will be bidding for her second junior Slam. Three Russian girls — 16-year-old Douchevina along with third-ranked Maria Kirilenko and eighth-ranked Alisa Kleybanova — are ranked in the ITF top 10.

Barbora Strycova, the 2002 ITF Junior World Champion, is another top contender for the junior girls title. The second-ranked Strycova partnered with Germany's Anna-Lena Groenfeld to win the Roland Garros junior doubles title last year.

Neither 2002 girls' champion Angelique Widjaja nor runner-up Ashley Harkleroad are competing in the junior event this year. A detailed tournament preview, daily reports and a "predict the winner" contest will be be conducted on the ITF Junior web site.
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