The first Category 1 Tennis Europe Junior Tour event of the season, the O1 Properties Christmas Cup, was held on the courts of Khimki’s Alexander Ostrovsky Academy from December 30th – January 7th.
Once again, the 14 & Under tournament drew some of the biggest names in world competition from that age group, but it was to be a home player – Maria Timofeeva – that would claim the headlines, following in the footsteps of junior world #1 Anastasia Potapova to claim a title for the host academy.
In fact, the girls’ final was a battle between two of the academy’s players, with runner-up Ksenia Aleshina also honing her game alongside Timofeeva. In the end, Maria’s victory was decisive, a 6-1 6-3 scoreline indicative of her form throughout the week, in which she dropped one set, during her quarterfinal match with Selin Lidya Sepken of Turkey. For her part, Aleshina scored a series of upset wins, including victories over the first and fourth seeds Oksana Selekhmeteva (last year’s runner-up) and Maria Bondarenko.
Mikhail Gorokhov ensured a Russian sweep of singles titles, recovering from a second set lapse to eventually overcome Serbia’s Hamad Medjedovic 6-3 4-6 6-4. The doubles event saw further silverware for Medjedovic, teaming with compatriot Mateja Janicijevic, as the pair feel at the final hurdle to Georgian-Spanish pairing of Tsotne Dzimistarishvili & Alejandro Turriziani Alvarez 7-5 6-2.
The girls doubles was won by Oksana Selekhmeteva and Maria Timofeeva, who managed to score a comfortable victory over Selin Lidya Sepken & Darja Vidmanova (TUR/CZE), conceding just four games.
This year the organizers again pleased the participants and guests of the tournament with a rich entertainment program. In the player’s village was a Photo Booth offering free souvenir photos. As is tradition, there were a lot of side competitions: power serve, Play Station football battles, and a master class in painting on canvas.
The parade of participants at the opening ceremony was hosted by a well-known TV presenter and showman Ivan Traore. With a welcoming speech addressed to the young players, the Tournament Director Roman Orlach, the founder of Alexander Ostrovsky Academy and Referee Madina Alimovnt officially started the tournament and the Russian national anthem was then sung by the students of the nearby Verstovsky Music Academy. The highlight of the evening was an inspiring performance by gymnasts from the project Hollywood.
Throughout the tournament the participants and guests of the tournament has been offered one of the entertainment features "Funny Animals", in which the participants and guests of the "Christmas Cup" were able to play and take a free photo with different animals: a rooster and monkey, raccoon and fox, owl and a pig.
One of the central events of the tournament, of course, was the show-match with neon lighting effects held on the 5th of January. This match was played by the national tennis stars Vera Dushevina with Igor Kunitsyn, as well as the best junior player in 2016, Anastasiya Potapova and the participant of the tournament Hamad Medjedovic. The match was commented by specially invited well-known presenter - Sophia Tartakova.
Spectator stands were full of people wanting to see an extraordinary show. That day in the VIP tribune watched the matches Vice President of the Russian Tennis Federation Alexei Selivanenko, senior coach of CSKA Alexei Zhuk, Vice-President of the Tennis Federation, Professor and PhD holder Anna Skorodumova, Deputy Head of the Administration of Khimki on social policy, culture and sport Yuri Vaulin with his wife, son, friends, and many other figures of sport and culture.
The fight began in full light, and after a few draws the lights went out, and the spectators were treated to an unusual "neon show." The audience watched with interest the ups and downs on the court, while the players themselves were somewhat uncomfortable in such extreme conditions. Normal lighting was restored from the middle of the match. As for the result, the juniors won 6-4!
The exhibition match was preceded by a masterclass called ‘Kids Day’ with the participation of the players from the Unified Russian tennis league 10s Minitennis. Especially for this event, we were visited by friends - the team of FC "Pirogov" and SC "Be Healthy" and SC "Megasport tennis". At the end of the day, at 19:00, in spite of the almost minus 20-degree cold weather, everyone was treated to a trip to Red Square.
At the closing ceremony of the O1 Properties Christmas Cup 2017 winners and participants were congratulated by the Vice-President Alexey Selivanenko, women's national team captain Anastasia Myskina, the founder of the Academy - Alexander Ostrovsky and Anastasiya Potapova. To bring the whole tournament to the successful and fun ending the traditional fireworks were done.
Following yet another successful event and spectacular curtain raiser to the 2017 Tennis Europe Junior Tour, organisers are already making plans to welcome the players back in 2018.