European #1s Kenneth Raisma and Olga Fridman cemented their places at the top of the 14 & Under rankings by winning the prestigious Category 1 Tim Essonne event in Sainte-Genevieve-des-Bois in France last week.
Raisma was particularly impressive; walking away with both singles and doubles titles. The Estonian breezed through the draw dropping just one set (to Spain’s Eduard Guell Bartina in the semi finals) in six matches. His final opponent, second seed Samuel Sippel, had been even more impressive throughout the week but was able to garner just five games against the #1, who ran out a 6-1 6-4 winner. The title is his second straight victory, having also won the Category 3 16 & Under Falkonet Cup in Tallinn two weeks ago.
For the doubles event, Raisma teamed up with Canada’s Dylan Bednarczyk. The eighth seeds combined well in their first event together, beating top seeds Sippel & Tim Ruehl (GER) in the second round before going on to beat home hopes Noe Khlif & Louis Tessa for the title, 6-0 6-2.
The girls’ singles also featured a final encounter between the top seeds and was as close as you would expect for a match between two Top Ten players, with Olga Fridman of Ukraine just edging past Dalma Galfi of Hungary, who was playing her first Tennis Europe Junior Tour event of the season, 7-6(4) 7-6(6).
The win caps a great fortnight for Fridman, who has now won back-to-back Category 1 events following her win in Stockholm ten days ago to establish a clear lead at the top of the rankings.
Galfi also reached the doubles final alongside partner Tamara Kupkova (SVK), though the pair fell to Barbora Miklova, a recent member of the winning Czech Winter Cups team, and her compatriot Marketa Vondrousova, 6-4 6-4.
Big crowds were in attendance for the final day of the event, where they were also treated to a wheelchair tennis exhibition from two of the world’s best players, Michel Jeremiasz (FRA) and Stefan Olsson (SWE).
There were two 16 & Under events staged last week. The biggest of these was the 11th Realsport Open, a Category 2 event in Milovice-Mlada (CZE).
There were plenty of surprises in the boys’ draw, where just one of the eight seeds (Bogdan Borza of Romania) reached the semifinals. His run was ended by home player Daniel Orlita, who recovered from the brink of defeat to post a 2-6 7-5 6-3 win to set up a final showdown with Polish qualifier Pawel Zawisza.
Despite losing the first six games of the deciding match, it was Zawisza who came out on top, recovering to record his seventh win of the week and a first ever Tennis Europe Junior Tour title, 0-6 6-0 6-4.
Home players went one better in the boys’ doubles, as David Paulson & Vaclav Slezak ousted second seeds Marco Prochazka (AUT) & Eleftherios Theodorou (GRE) 7-5 7-5.
Hungary’s Anna Bondar almost swept the girls’ titles, winning the doubles alongside compatriot Alexa Pirok (beating Czechs Hana Kvapilova & Sabina Machalova 4-6 6-2 10-7) before returning to the court to face top seed Vivian Zlatanova (BUL) in the singles final.
The match went the distance, with Zlatanova – who was making her first appearance on the Tour since her runner-up spot in Torelló last September – taking the first set 6-3 only to see Bondar hit back to level up for the loss of just one game in the second set. The Bulgarian recovered her composure in the decider though, taking it 6-3 to win her first Tour title since last July.
Nastola in Finland once again played host to the popular Pajulahti Cup Category 3 event. Britain’s Daniel Little seems to love playing in this part of Europe. Having won his first Tennis Europe Junior Tour title almost exactly one year ago at the tournament in Oulu, he once again came out on top on Finnish soil, brushing past second seeded Estonian Christopher Robin Klettenberg for the loss of just three games in the final.
Russians dominated the girls event, accounting for six of the eight quarter final spots, which led to all-Russian semi-finals. Second seed Daria Kruzhkova was the eventual champion, weathering a second set fightback to beat Valeriya Urzhumova 6-3 7-5 to record her first tournament win of 2012.
The two non-Russian quarterfinalists turned out to be the doubles champions, as Belarusian pair Khrystina Kandratsiuk & Hanna Yedzelkina beat Natalia Belyaeva & Arina Kuznetsova (RUS) 6-3 6-3 to take their first title together. Yedzelkina currently holds four Tour doubles titles, and also won in Narva a few weeks ago.
The boys’ doubles went to Dmitry Dosuzhev (RUS) & Halit Berka Manaloglu (TUR), who wasted no time in ending the hopes of home team Pyry Hyrkkonen & Kim Kauppila 6-0 6-1.
This week, the Tour calls in again on Finland, with the joint 14/16 & Under event in Oulu, and also stops in Kosice (SVK), Isernhagen (GER) and Antalya (TUR), where the Development Championships are being played. Keep up with all the latest draws and results here.