Indian youngsters look to make a mark

Indian boys and girls will be eager to assert themselves in the ITF junior tennis tournament, beginning Monday, at the Delhi Lawn Tennis Association (DLTA).

Siddhant Banthia, who is among the best junior players in India, has got the top billing. The Pune boy with a combined ranking of 41 had a good season last year. He participated in Grand Slams, and would be eager to carry his form in the new season.

Morocco's Yassir Kilani, with a combined ranking of 108, has been seeded second. Sacchit Sharma, who made an impact couple of years ago when he won the UK under-14 championship in Wimbledon, after he topped Road to Wimbledon contest in India, has been seeded third. The 16-year-old junior national champion is currently ranked 129, will be looking to improve his ranking to make it to the junior Grand Slams.

Rohan Mehra, Theertha Shashank Macherla, Rhythm Malhotra, Aman Patel have been given the wildcard in the boys' event.

In the girls' competition, Akanksha Bhan will be leading the pack. The 17-year-old, who has been supported by Sports Authority of Gujarat, has made the cut in the qualifying round of the junior Australian Open after a strong showing last season. Thailand's Mai Napatt Nirundorn has got the second seeding while Vaidehi Chaudhari has got the third seeding.

Aesha Patel, Sanya Singh, Ishpreet Kaur, and Yubarani Banerjee have been awarded the wild card of the girls' event.

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