Krajicek close to summit

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The Independent Online

The name Krajicek is already on the Wimbledon roll of honour, and it could appear for the second time before the weekend is out.

The name Krajicek is already on the Wimbledon roll of honour, and it could appear for the second time before the weekend is out.

Michaella Krajicek, the half-sister of the 1996 men's champion Richard, is the top seed and favourite to lift the girls' singles trophy. Having narrowly missed out in 2003 on becoming the youngest world junior No 1 since Anna Kournikova nine years ago, the 15-year-old will top the girls' world rankings on Monday if she wins the Wimbledon title.

Her chances were given a minor jolt in the 45 minutes in which play was possible before yesterday afternoon's rain. She dropped the opening set to the Ukrainian Katerina Bondarenko on a tie-break, having failed to gain advantage from the superior tennis she played.

Krajicek is the one member of the girls' singles semi-finalists not to come from eastern Europe (and even her father Petr was a Czech immigrant to the Netherlands). In a growing trend, the states formerly under Soviet control are producing large numbers of promising female tennis players, of whom the 17-year-old Bondarenko is one. The other semi-final features Viktoria Azarenka from Belarus against Ana Ivanovic from Serbia-Montenegro, and five of the eight girls' doubles semi-finalists are from eastern Europe.

By contrast the boys' singles features the latest hopes from the old world. France is guaranteed a finalist, as Gaël Monfils takes on Jérémy Chardy, while Great Britain's Miles Kasiri, from Margate, faces Scoville Jenkins from the US.

Before yesterday's rain arrived, Monfils, who even this early in the year is virtually guaranteed to be world junior champion, had taken the first set against Chardy 6-4. A member of an exciting generation of French youngsters, the gangling Monfils is looking to claim his third Grand Slam junior title after winning in Australia and France this year.

If he wins, he will receive his trophy on Centre Court, which will involve walking past the two lines of Kipling's poem If above the entrance: "If you can meet with triumph and desire and treat those two impostors just the same". If he can go on to have similar success on the full tour, he will be a man, Monfils.

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