Rudolf Molleker of Germany and Russia’s Anastasia Potapova are the new European 14 & Under Champions after contrasting matches on the final day of the Championships in Pilsen (CZE).
Molleker, the second seed in the boys’ event, blasted his way best home hope Tomas Jirousek for the loss of just a single game to claim his second medal of the tournament. Still just 13 years of age, the prodigious German had been in imperious form throughout the week, winning the tournament without conceding a single set.
The win was also a historic one; he will reclaim the top spot on the Tennis Europe Junior Tour rankings on Tuesday, and becomes the first 14 & Under player in over 30 years to win the European Junior Championships and play on the winning Winter and Summer Cups teams in the same season. He also becomes the first German boy since Florian Loddenkemper in 1984 to win the 14 & Under Championship.
The victory over Jirousek would have been sweet for the German, after the third seed had caused double consternation for the Germans on Saturday, ending Nicola Kuhn’s hopes of reaching an all-German final before teaming with Ezven Holis to beat Molleker & Kuhn in the doubles final.
Overall the boys’ event went largely with form, with the only unseeded players to reach the quarterfinals being Leonid Sheyngezikht (BUL) and Jake Hersey (GBR), both of whom scored upsets over Top 10 opposition.
Anastasia Potapova dominated the girls’ event in equally impressive style, never dropping more than seven games in a match en route to her fourth final of the season on the Tennis Europe Junior Tour.
The third seed had looked particularly impressive in a 6-3 6-0 win over #2 Dayana Yastremska (UKR) in the semifinals and picked up where she left off in the final, blasting a 6-1 first set win over her Winter Cups team-mate Olesya Pervushina. Pervushina has spent most of this season as Europe’s #1 in her age group and used her big match experience to fight back in the second, levelling the match with a 6-2 scoreline. However, forced to play a deciding set for the first time in the Championship, Potapova found an extra gear in the third set and broke at will to emerge triumphant, 6-2.
The win means that Potapova will snatch Pervushina’s rankings top spot on Tuesday, but there will surely be no hard feelings between the two friends and team-mates. Their domination of the event was such that they also teamed up to take the doubles crown. The final match proved to be a seesaw battle against the same Ukrainian players that they beat in the singles semifinals, Kataryna Zavatska and Dayana Yastremska, eventually won 6-7(5), 6-0, [10-7].
All four European Junior Championship finalists automatically qualify to compete at the Tennis Europe Junior Masters in Reggio Calabria in October and will next turn their attention to representing their countries at the ITF World Junior Tennis finals in Prostejov (CZE) from 4-9 August.
Draws and Results
Boys Singles | Boys Doubles | Girls Singles | Girls Doubles | Photos