The fourth edition of the ITF Junior Masters will kick off on Wednesday in Chengdu, with 16 boys and girls fighting for the title and to replace Marta Kostyuk and Emil Ruusuvuori who lift the trophies in 2017. ITF Junior Masters was the last junior singles tournament for the 15-year-old Marta Kostyuk who became world number 2 after Chengdu, previously winning the Australian Open at the age of 14.
The super talented Ukrainian had won her first pro title before turning 16 and she continued in the same style in 2018 as well, reaching the third round of the Australian Open as a qualifier and entering the Top 150 to become by far the youngest player in the Top 300 and the leader of 2002 generation.
Kostyuk was forced to end her 2018 season earlier than she expected due to an injury and she seeks even bigger results in 2019 when she will try to enter the Top 100 as soon as possible. Marta spoke about her ITF Junior Master title from a year ago and the way she ended her junior career, also recalling that Svitolina match from Melbourne in January:
“First of all, I finished my junior career in the best way possible by winning the ITF Junior Masters and that really was the best way to finish,” said the 16-year-old Kostyuk.“It was a good moment of victory. I still remember that winning point, although I have to say that I was expecting to win before the final so I wasn’t super-surprised. But the whole experience in Chengdu was amazing, I really loved it, and it was one of my favorite tournaments.
The main positive, however, was that I was able to finish the year really well, which gave me confidence, so I was entering the next season with the best possible thoughts. It gave me a lot of confidence and I have really benefitted from that.
My season wasn’t as good as I wanted it to be before the Masters, so I didn’t really expect to win, but I had been working really hard in the build-up and getting and better. I didn’t have any expectations, though.
To win a tournament always provides memories which will stay with you for the rest of your life. Before that match with Elina Svitolina at the Australian Open I was really tired – it was my sixth – and I was nervous.
It was a really, really warm day and I was very upset after the match. It may sound weird but I was upset because I lost and I didn’t show anything like my best. I was very upset.”