Four new champions have been crowned at the Tennis Europe Junior Masters in Reggio Calabria following a hard-fought but friendly weekend in which the Tennis Europe Junior Tour’s top players faced each for the last time this season.
With the finals streamed live online, the first match to be completed was the boys’ 14 & Under final, which saw Radu Papoe of Romania beat fourth seeded Dane Holger Rune 6-2 6-4.
Unseeded Papoe, a late addition to the tournament following the withdrawal of Serbia’s Viktor Jovic, was naturally delighted with his win. “I was hopeful, but I didn’t really expect to win when I came here. This is definitely my best tournament of the year,” said Papoe after the match.
Ranked 25th before the tournament, Papoe should shoot into the 14 & Under Top Ten next week as a result of his win, which included victories over top seed Oleksiy Shestakov and Elmer Moller, and saw him progress to the title without the loss of a set.
Federica Sacco brought a partisan centre court crowd to its feet in the Girls 14 & Under final, producing a controlled and consistent display to beat Russia’s Maria Timofeeva 6-4 6-3. Like Papoe, the win was just Sacco’s second Tennis Europe Junior Tour title of the season, and came on the biggest of stages. The 14-year old from Napoli also becomes the first Italian girl to win a Masters title since Lisa Tognetti in 2000. “When I came here I definitely didn’t expect to win; I just hoped to win one match, and then the second match. But when I reached the final, I said, ‘OK, let’s really try to win this!’”, she smiled.
Mariam Dalakishvili has had an even more productive season, with four singles titles under her belt prior to the Masters. She kept up her good form to defeat Serbia’s Tamara Malesevic 7-6(4) 6-3 and claim the most important title of her junior career so far.
“My goal all year was just to qualify for the Masters, so it’s just a perfect feeling to win this tournament. Knowing that players like Nadal won this tournament makes me feel like I have a pretty good future,” she said. Her immediate future is also bright, with the Georgian #1 likely to rocket to the edge of the 16 & Under Top Ten when the rankings are updated.
The last match to be completed was the Boys 16 & Under final, a high quality and tense battle between two players that had accounted for all four of the top seeds in the first two rounds. Lukas Krainer of Austria had the upper hand throughout most of the match against Serbia’s Kristijan Juhas, leading 6-4 and 4-2. Some inspired play from the Serbian in the middle of the second set (including a reflex backhand lob winner followed in the next point by a tweener) got the crowd on his side and he managed to break back to force a tie-break. Krainer held his nerve though, serving out for a 6-4 7-6(5) win that made him the first ever Austrian Junior Masters champion. “In the second set I started to think about winning, and it affected my timing,” he explained. “But now I’m so happy, I can’t even describe the feeling.”
The matches were followed by a lavish prize-giving ceremony, during which representatives of the host club, CT Rocco Polimeni, awarded the traditional ‘Fair Play’ prize to Ziva Falkner. The Slovenian was recognised for her excellent conduct during the tournament, and for her readiness to take part in a hitting session with a disabled player.
The Tennis Europe Junior Masters is a season-ending event for the elite players of the Tennis Europe Junior Tour, with the top eight players of the 14 and 16 & Under age categories invited to compete. Former champions include top players such as Belinda Bencic (2011), Rafael Nadal (2000) and Kim Clijsters (1997).
Draws and Results
Boys 14 & Under
Radu Papoe (ROU) d. (1) Oleksiy Shestakov (UKR) 6-1 6-3
Elmer Moller (DEN) d. (3) Alibek Kachmazov (RUS) 6-0 6-3
(4) Holger Rune (DEN) d. Nicholas Ionel (ROU) 6-3 4-6 6-1
(2) Lorenzo Musetti (ITA) d. Petr Kapuskin (RUS) 6-2 6-3
Radu Papoe (ROU) d. Elmer Moller (DEN) 6-2 6-2
(4) Holger Rune (DEN) d. (2) Lorenzo Musetti (ITA) 1-6 6-3 6-4
Radu Papoe (ROU) d. (4) Holger Rune (DEN) 6-2 6-4
Girls 14 & Under
Federica Sacco (ITA) d. (1) Avelina Sayfetdinova (RUS) 6-7(3) 6-0 6-3
(4) Ziva Falkner (SLO) d. Noa Krznaric (CRO) 6-3 6-2
(3) Maria Timofeeva (RUS) d. Francesca Curmi (MLT) 6-3 6-7(4) 6-1
(2) Viktoriya Kanapatskaya (BLR) d. Lyubov Kostenko (UKR) 6-3 6-3
Federica Sacco (ITA) d. (4) Ziva Falkner (SLO) 3-6 6-4 6-4
(3) Maria Timofeeva (RUS) d. (2) Viktoriya Kanapatskaya (BLR) 6-2 6-0
Federica Sacco (ITA) d. (3) Maria Timofeeva (RUS) 6-4 6-3
Boys 16 & Under
Lukas Krainer (AUT) d. (1) Cezar Cretu (ROU) 6-2 6-4
(3) Daniel Khin (HUN) d. Moritz Pfaff (GER) 6-0 6-2
(4) Yannik Steinegger (SUI) d. Artsiom Bardzin (BLR) 6-3 6-4
Kristijan Juhas (SRB) d. (2) Giulio Zeppieri (ITA) 6-1 6-1
Kristijan Juhas (SRB) d. (4) Yannik Steinegger (SUI) 6-0 6-3
Lukas Krainer (AUT) d. (3) Daniel Khin (HUN) 6-4 6-1
Lukas Krainer (AUT) d. Kristijan Juhas (SRB) 6-4 7-6(5)
Girls 16 & Under
(1) Daniella Medvedeva (RUS) d. Elena Milovanovic (SRB) 6-3 6-3
(3) Miriam Dalakishvili (GEO) d. Mihaela Djakovic (SRB) 7-6(5) 1-6 6-2
(4) Tamara Malesevic (SRB) d. Anna Martemyanova (UKR) 6-3 4-6 7-6(1)
Oksana Selekhmeteva (RUS) d. (2) Reka Zadori (HUN) 6-1 6-3
(3) Miriam Dalakishvili (GEO) d. (1) Daniella Medvedeva (RUS) 6-4 6-4
(4) Tamara Malesevic (SRB) d. Oksana Selekhmeteva (RUS) 7-6(2) 6-7(5) 6-2
(3) Miriam Dalakishvili (GEO) d. (4) Tamara Malesevic (SRB) 7-6(4) 6-3