The Czech Republic and Russia continued to dominate the 12 & Under Tennis Europe Winter Cups by HEAD by claiming victory at the final rounds of the indoor team competition once again. So tight is their stranglehold on both the boys’ and girls’ titles, that in the past four years no other nation has managed to lift either trophy.
The Czech boys were utterly dominant, managing to keep a clean sheet during the finals as well as qualifying. Undefeated in this event since 2016 and playing on home soil in Veska, they were too strong for Italy, defeating the visitors 2-0 in the final to take their fourth title. Meanwhile, the Russian girls overcame the Bulgarians, who were playing in their maiden final, 3-0 to also notch their fourth win.
The Final Rounds
BOYS: Veska, Czech Republic | Photos
The Czechs sent a powerful message to their Italian rivals when Jan Kumstat got his nation off to a strong start by beating Federico Cina 6-0 6-2 in just 51 minutes. Yannick Thierry Ngantcha Lliso put up more of a resistance for Italy in the second rubber, but in the end was not strong enough to defeat Maxim Mrva. The Czech won 6-4 6-4 to seal the win for the home team. With victory confirmed for a fourth consecutive year, the doubles was not contested.
GIRLS: Sunderland, Great Britain | Photos
Russia took an insurmountable 2-0 lead in their final against Bulgaria with decisive straight sets wins in both singles rubbers. Alina Korneeva defeated Yoana Konstantinova 6-4 6-1, after which Mirra Andreeva saw off Rositsa Dencheva 6-1 6-3 in just over an hour. Andreeva then teamed up with Dana Pozhidaeva to down Konstantinova & Elizara Yaneva 6-1 6-1 to complete a 3-0 whitewash in the final.
Road to the Finals
A total of 62 national teams took part in the competition’s qualifying rounds, which were held at 7 venues across Europe. The Czech boys went undefeated in qualifying, which they also had the luxury of playing at home, in Hradek and Nisou. In fact, they only lost one rubber - a technicality in the finals of qualifying when they handed Belgium an inconsequential walkover in the doubles, having already clinched an unassailable lead in the tie. Prior to that, they had beaten both Portugal and Lithuania 3-0. In the final rounds, they defeated Bulgaria and then Romania by the same scoreline before downing Italy in the final.
The Russian girls were equally dominant in their qualifying event, scoring 3-0 victories over Lithuania, Latvia and France in Tallinn, Estonia. Off to another strong start at the final rounds, they defeated Slovakia 3-0, before being seriously tested by the host nation in the semis. Great Britain went up one rubber to nil before Russia came back to win the second singles, with Andreeva sneaking past Hephzibah Oluwadare 7-6(5) in the third set tie break of their singles to get things back to 1-1. The doubles went the way of the Russians, and after their scare in the semis, they were in clinical mood in the final, sweeping all three matches in straight sets as mentioned.
Boys: 1. Czech Republic, 2. Italy, 3. Great Britain, 4. Romania, 5. Russia, 6. Poland, 7. Bulgaria, 8. Belgium
Girls: 1. Russia, 2. Bulgaria, 3. Great Britain, 4. France, 5. Romania, 6. Czech Republic, 7. Slovak Republic, 8. Ukraine
The domination in numbers
- The Czech boys have now won the event 4 years in a row: 2016-2019
- They have also won 4 titles overall
- The Russian girls have been in 5 finals
- They have won 4 titles overall: 2012, 2013, 2017, 2019
- In the past 4 years these powerhouse nations of tennis have split the last eight boys’ and girls’ title between them
- 6 of those 8 have gone to the Czech Republic, 2 to Russia
Next weekend will see the final rounds of the 14 and 16 & Under events. For full results from all age categories, click here.