It has been a busy week in junior tennis, as autumn arrived with several important tournaments taking place concurrently. Spain was in the Tennis Europe spotlight this week, hosting three Category One tournaments, while over in China the elite of the 18 & Under circuit were battling it out at the ITF World Tennis Tour Junior Finals in Chengdu.
16&U 12º Torneo Internacional Cadete, Sanxenxo, ESP
Karolina Kozakova (SUI) and Carlos Guerrero (ESP) were crowned champions after impressive performances all week. Dominating from the outset, Carlos sailed into the third round with ease, winning 24 straight games. This run was followed by a tough three-set fight against his compatriot Alejandro Verdasco, a qualifier, after which Guerrero went back into dominant mode, conceding just one game against Kilian Feldbausch (SUI) in the semi final before posting another straight sets win over unseeded Spaniard Lluc Mir in the final to secure his second trophy of the year.
Equally impressive, if not more so, was Kozakova. She stormed through the tournament without dropping a set at any stage. In the final she met Nora Knezevic from Croatia, the fifth seed, who had taken out the number one seed and recent Junior Masters runner-up Amelie Smejkalova from the Czech Republic in the quarter final. Again the final was to follow the script the Swiss player had so brilliantly written throughout the week. Kozakova was strong and determined throughout the final against Knezevic, claiming her second title from four finals in 2019 with a 6-2 6-1 win.
Boys’ doubles winners: Kilian Feldbausch (SUI) & Pavel Lagutin (RUS)
Girls’ doubles winners: Mafalda Guedes & Maria Santos (POR)
14&U Gran Canaria Yellow Bowl, Telde, ESP
With an upset win over the top seed Matteo Covato of Italy in the third round, the Spaniard Oscar Morales thoroughly deserved his eventual trophy. After this surprise win, the unseeded local advanced to his second final of the year after easily brushing aside fellow Spaniard, fourth seed Martin Landulce in the semi-finals. His opponent in the final was another home player, Lucca Helguera, who had a very impressive run to the decider. Unseeded, he had earlier accounted for #6 seed Manvydas Balciunas (NED), #14 Luis Garcia (ESP) and claimed the scalp of #2 seed Matej Dodig (CRO) in the first round. The final was one match too many for Helguera, as Morales was on the offensive throughout, posting a 6-1 6-2 win for his maiden title.
The girls’ final was an all-Serbian affair with the tournament’s top seed Jovana Grujic facing the seventh seed Dunja Maric. Both players had come through some very tough matches, especially Maric who had overcome some challenging opponents, winning three-set battles to advance past Sophya Devas (GBR) and Isis Van Den Broek (NED). The top seed’s run to the final was slightly easier, but her quest for the title was stymied in the decider by an inspired opponent. The compatriots, no doubt familiar with each other’s games, were locked in an early-morning tussle, and it was Maric who came out on top, taking the trophy (pictured) and her second singles title of the year with a 6-2 6-3 victory. The Yellow Bowl also hosted a Category 1 12 & Under event. You can find full information here.
Boys’ doubles winners: Manvydas Balciunas (NED) & Lars Wagenaar (NED)
Girls’ doubles winners: Anastasiia Firman (UKR) & Maria Pia Vivenzio (ITA)
Elsewhere this week:
ITF World Tennis Tour Junior Finals, Chengdu, CHN
In what would be a dominating display of tennis from some of Europe’s most promising junior tennis stars, plenty of raw talent was on display in Chengdu this week. Playing amongst the best of the best of the world’s juniors, European players dazzled and dominated, accounting for three of the four semi-finalists in both the boys’ and girls’ draws of the 18 & Under circuit’s season-ending extravaganza.
Diane Parry (FRA) was the girls’ champion this year. The world number one junior was in scintillating form, taking less than an hour to make light work of reigning Wimbledon junior champion and fourth-ranked Daria Snigur (UKR). Parry took the title with a 6-3 6-1 win.
Meanwhile the French Open boys’ champion, Holger Rune, from Denmark won a battle royale in the boys’ final against Harold Mayot of France. The third-ranked junior had to dig deep and cover plenty of court as the fifth-ranked Mayot refused to go down without a fight. Runes’ 7-6 4-6 6-2 win makes him the first Dane to ever claim this title. By virtue of his win, Rune will now rise to number one in the junior rankings.
The performances of all the players will no doubt give them every confidence as they being to prepare for the new season. Such brilliant tennis and professionalism on display from all at such a young age can only be considered a positive in what looks to be a fantastic future for these players.
For full results from these as well as other events from Week 43 the Tennis Europe Junior Tour, click here. For the latest photo galleries, click here.