Jack Sock of Lincoln, Neb., captured the 18th gold ball of his career by winning the prestigious USTA National Championships in Kalamazoo, Mich., where he also reached the doubles final with partner Matthew Kandath. Just a few weeks later, Sock defeated fellow American Denis Kudla, 3-6, 6-2, 6-2, to win the US Open boys' singles title, becoming the second American to win the event in the last 17 years, joining 2000 champion Andy Roddick.
American juniors continued to impress in 2010, making great strides toward long careers as top-flight professionals.
Leading the way were junior Grand Slam champions Sloane Stephens and Jack Sock. Stephens won the final three Slam doubles titles of the year, at the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open, and also advanced to the singles quarterfinals at Roland Garros and Wimbledon as well as the semis at the US Open. Sock also impressed in both disciplines in Flushing Meadows, reaching the doubles quarterfinals (with French Open boys’ finalist Andrea Collarini) and defeating Denis Kudla in the first all-American boys’ singles final since 2000, when Andy Roddick knocked off Robby Ginepri.
Kudla was the dominant American boy for the first half of the year, rising to No. 3 in the world junior rankings, with Beatrice Capra serving as the headliner for the girls with a top-10 ranking and a tournament title at the prestigious Italian Open. Also impressing in 2010 was Krista Hardebeck, who joined Sam Querrey and Melanie Oudin as the only players ever to win the Easter Bowl and International Spring Championships in back-to-back weeks and, in turn, was featured in Sports Illustrated as one of the athletes to watch in the years to come.
Not to be outdone, the U.S. girls won a fourth consecutive World Junior Tennis Championship earlier this year, continuing an unprecedented run of dominance in the event, which operates as a Fed Cup for those 14 and under, and standout 12-year-old tennis player Jessie Aney of Rochester, Minn., was named the Sports Illustrated for Kids 2010 SportsKid of the Year.