Tennis Europe Junior Tour
Cuenin and Noskova win big at TIM Essonne
12 March 2018 - Photo: Sean Cuenin and Arthur Fils after the TIM Essonne final
Linda Noskova seems to love playing in France. Having reached the final of Les Petits As a few weeks ago, the young Czech posted her first tournament win of the season, this time in Saint-Genevieve-Des-Bois. She also managed to take the doubles crown, adding to her victory in Tarbes. Not to be outdone on home soil, local player Sean Cuenin also claimed victory in both singles and doubles.
Seeded number seven, Cuenin made his way through the middle section of the draw until he ran into third seeded Russian Artur Kukasian. He was taken to the limit before finally claiming victory 7-6 in the third set. This set him up to meet Swiss wildcard Raffaele Mariani, who had managed to cause a few surprises of his own along the way. By taking out Belgian qualifier Noah Merre, who had previously taken out the top seeded Cypriot Constantinos Koshis, Mariani found himself in the semi-finals, but was outdone by Cuenin in straight-sets. The final saw Cuenin face his compatriot Arthur Fils, who was seeded 16. With just one break of serve in each set, the match went the way of Cuenin 6-3 7-5.
Cuenin then teamed up with another of his compatriots, William Jucha, to yet again thwart top seed Koshis’ hopes. The French duo outplayed the favourites, the Cypriot and his Russian partner and namesake, Konstantin Zhzhenov 6-2 6-3, to the delight of the home crowd.
In the girls’ event, #1 seed Noskova progressed relatively easily through to the quarterfinals with a three-set blip in the round of sixteen being her only struggle. She overcame French promise Oceane Babel in the quarterfinals before taking out Sofia Costoulas in the semi-finals. In the final she would meet yet another French player, in the form of 16th seed Karen Marthiens, who had come off a surprise semi-final win over the in-form Czech Linda Fruhvirtova, winner last week in Stockholm. The final was a spirited battle as Noskova was made to fight back from a set down, turning the match around to take the title 4-6 6-0 6-4.
Noskova & Fruhvirtova teamed up to progress to the doubles final, winning all their matches handily in straight sets. In the final they were to meet top seeds Alexandra Petric (ROU) & Hanne Vandewinkel (BEL) but were handed a walkover victory after their opponents were unable to compete.
ITF/Tennis Europe 14 & Under Development Championships, Antalya, Turkey
A closed event held annually for players from emerging tennis nations, this event gives a chance for some youngsters to shine on a bigger stage. Players from the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia stole the spotlight in this opening week, dominating all events.
The boys’ champion was top seeded Kalin Ivanovski from the FYRM, who took the title without losing a set. Maxim Cazac of Moldova was his final opponent, and was allowed just one game, going down 6-0 6-1. Third spot went to Matija Samardzic of Montenegro, who took out Atakan Karahan of Turkey in the third-fourth playoff.
The trophy in the girls’ singles went to Ivanovski’s compatriot Alexandra Simeva, also seeded one. After a tough three-set semi-final win over Divna Ratkovic (MNE), she downed fellow Macedonian Jana Stojanova in the final 6-1 6-4. Ratkovic downed another Turk, Duru Yagmur Durgun, in the playoff to finish third.
Spoils in the doubles went to Ivanovski and Boris Mrkev, while the girls’ champions were Simeva and Storjanova, sending a strong message of a bright future for Macedonian tennis.
16 & Under
17th Realsport Open, Milovice, Czech Republic
The podiums at this Category 2 event in Milovice were completely dominated by home players. Except for a Polish semi-finalist in the boys’ singles and the girls’ champion from Serbia, every other top four slot was taken by a player from the host nation. The boys’ title went to Adam Jurajda who led Ondrej Horak 6-4 4-6 3-0 when Horak was forced to retire. The girls’ singles winner was Antonia Ruzic of Croatia, who overcame Nelly Knezkova 6-4 6-1.
The boys’ singles finalists teamed up and had earlier made it through to the doubles final where they lost to top seeds Kristian Kubik & Daniel Siniakov. Agata Cerna & Karolina Novackova were the girls’ doubles winners, defeating Barbora Palicova & Beata Havlickova.
14 & Under
Slovan Open U14, Bratislava, Slovakia
The singles champions in Bratislava's Category 2 tournament were both from the Czech Republic, with Matthew William Donald and Lucie Havlickova lifting the trophies. Slovakia’s Norbert Marosik & Karol Vlcko took the boys’ doubles, whilst Kira Pavlova & Ksenia Zaytseva from Russia were the girls’ doubles champions.
Tel Aviv Open in Honour of Ronie Sender, Tel Aviv, Israel
Home hope and top seed Ron Ellouck was the star of the show at the event in Tel Aviv, the first of two consecutive category 2 events in Israel. He beat Theodoros Mitsakos (GRE) to claim the singles title and teamed with William Jansen (GBR) to add the doubles. Russia was triumphant in the girls’ events, with Aglaya Fedorova beating Kateryna Lazarenko (UKR) for the singles title and Valery Gynina & Elena Pridankina victorious in the girls’ doubles.
Last week also saw the staging of one of the world’s top 12 & Under tournaments, the Open Super 12 in Auray. With past champions including the likes of Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray, the event has gained a big audience, with fans able to follow all the action live online. This year’s event once again saw many of the world’s best players in action. Kaylan Bigun of the USA made a splash, winning in singles over Britain’s Henry Trump and teaming up with twin brother Meecah Bigun to win the doubles. The girls’ singles saw an all-Czech battle, with Brenda Fruhvirtova beating Nikola Bartunkova in the final. The pair also reached the doubles final together, but were beaten by Canadians Victoria Mboko & Scarlett Nicholson.