ÖTV’s top young talent knows his group’s opponents in the final youth tournament in Chengdu.
It was the Austrian’s youngster’s biggest success since Dominic Thiem’s victory in the Orange Bowl in Plantation in 2011, which he achieved on Sunday with a thrilling victory in the Osaka Mayor’s Cup (ITF J500 category). With great self-confidence, Joel Schwarzler now makes his debut at the 2023 ITF World Junior Tour Finals in Chengdu. The draw for the two groups was held on Tuesday in the final of the tournament to choose the best eight players for this season. The 17-year-old from Vorarlberg (ITF 7) ended up in Group B, along with Russian Jaroslav Demin (ITF 3), Italian Federico Senna (ITF 10) and Serbian Branko Djuric (ITF 14). The top two teams in both groups qualify for the semi-finals on Saturday. Firstly, the ÖTV-contracted player will meet Djuric on Wednesday at 4:00 AM CEST, who won his first international title in the penultimate week of the ITF M15 tournament in Bad Waltersdorf in Styria.
Schwarzler did not slip into the field of participants until after the cancellation of the American Darwin Blanche (ITF 9). On paper, he’s got the slightly easier group – as much as that can be said given the very strong and cohesive lineup in China. He has a 1-0 record against Demin, who was already number one in the world youth rankings and trains at Rafa Nadal’s academy in Mallorca, as well as against Senna, with whom he reached the doubles semi-finals in Osaka. And against Djuric, the head-to-head result of 1:1 is not considered negative either. Schwarzler, who will be personally attended to on site this week by ÖTV Sports Director and Davis Cup captain Jürgen Melzer, has formulated his primary goal in advance as follows: “Of course I would really like to win the tournament, but my first goal is.” Getting through the group stage would be great. “I want to try to take it one game at a time and get the win.” Winning the tournament brings a travel allowance of $17,000, and the eighth-place finisher can also look forward to pocketing $8,500.
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