THE Junior International Bolton has seen a large number of players from across the globe progress to the higher echelons of the international tennis world, and last week the USN Bolton Arena saw a glimpse of the future of the professional game.

Last year’s winner Cori Gauff, who was aged 12 at the time, has already gone on to reach the final of the US Junior Open 18 and under singles competition, with a number of this year’s

competitors aiming for a similar achievement over the next few years.

Once again a strong American contingent were on show at Bolton in both the boys’ and girls’ events.

However, it was Samuel Reeve who particularly provided some local interest.

The teenager from Stockport, who celebrated his 14th birthday a few days before the event, was looking to follow in the footsteps of Andy Murray as a British male winner.

Unseeded Reeve was highly impressive in back-to-back three-set victories over Croatians Noa Vukadin and top seed Mili Poljicak, before falling to fourth seed American Ewen Wen in the semi-final.

The boys’ singles final was a high quality encounter between American team-mates Wen and Victor Lilov.

Lilov, who had saved match points against the talented French player Cesar Bouchelagham the previous day, was once again involved in a three-set marathon, showing great composure after losing the second set 6-0, to prevail against Wen 6-3, 0-6, 6-3 to capture the title.

In the girls’ event British top seed Matilde Mutavdzic had recovered from losing the first set in both her last-16 and quarter-final matches, but was unable to achieve for a third time when succumbing to American fifth seed Katja Wiersholm.

Wiersholm, whose older brother was runner-up in 2011, found herself against fellow American and second seed Katrina Scott in the final.

Wiersholm showed great ability to control points through a combination of aggressive play and finesse and looked to be coasting to the title at 6-4, 4-0 up, but had to withstand a late surge from her compatriot before sealing the title with a 6-4, 6-4 victory.

As ever it will be interesting to follow the careers of these young players, with history showing a number who play at Bolton in this competition go on to progress to reach the world’s top 10.