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Tennis Europe Junior Tour

Home players rule at Antei Cup in Kyiv

Antei Cup 2018, Kyiv, (UKR)

Last week saw Ukraine host its biggest ever junior tennis event, as the traditional Antei Cup expanded its Category 1 status to combine both 14 and 16 & Under age categories. Local players went three for four in the singles events in the nation’s capital, with Viacheslev Bielinsky winning the boys’ 16 & Under final, while Alina Tsyurpalevych and Anastasiya Zholdakova won the girls’ 16 & Under and 14 & Under titles respectively. Top seeded Croat Mili Poljicak was the only overseas visitor to take home a singles title, lifting his first winner’s trophy of 2018.

After an easy first round win for the top seed Matas Vasiliauskas (LTU), things began to look shaky as he won his next two matches in three sets, including an especially tough quarterfinal win over Artem Podorozhnyi (UKR) by the exhausting scoreline of 6-7 7-6 6-4. Having powered through a straight set semi-final, he was due to face a fourth Ukrainian opponent of the week in the form of second-seeded Bielinsky, who had come through the bottom half of the draw in more comfortable fashion.  

The top seed started well to claim the first set, but the local player rebounded, coming back with solid tennis to take the match 3-6 6-3 6-3. Playing in his fourth final of the year, the Ukrainian posted his second win after the title he took home in Tirana.

In the girls’ event, however, there was to be no such drama for the top seed Alina Tsyurpalevych. Storming through her first three rounds, she then met some slight resistance from her compatriot Karyna Kachur in the semi-finals. The final however, was a much more difficult affair for the tournament favourite. The Lithuanian third seed, Klaudija Bubelyte, fresh off her win in Riga, had taken out the second seed, Anastasiya Soboleva, in three tough sets in the semi-finals and put up plenty of fight in the final. It was a thrilling match with plenty of highlights and eventually went to the local player 3-6 6-2 7-6(4) for her first tour win of the year, much to the delight of her home supporters.

In the boys’ doubles, Vasiliauskas & Justas Trainauskas defeated Matas Bruzas & Pijus Vaitiekunas 6-2 6-7(3) 10-5 in an all-Lithuanian final. This was the second doubles final in successive weeks for Vaitiekunas, who also recently took the title in Riga. Girls’ doubles top seeds Olga Molchanova & Anastasiya Soboleva (UKR) overcame their unseeded compatriots Iryna Lysykh & Yulia Zhytelna 7-6(0) 6-4.

The 14 & Under boys’ top seed Poljicak, breezed through the early rounds and, despite a slight test in the semi-finals, won the title without dropping a set. His opponent in the final was the number two seed from Poland, Olaf Pieczkowski. The Pole had been having a difficult time, struggling in the second round and then again in the semi-finals over Russian Artem Cherepin, who had previously seen off Belgian third seed Alexander Blockx. The Pole, number 10 on the 14 & Under rankings, was playing his second final of the year, having earlier finished runner up in the 16 & Under Pinsk Open. The 5th-ranked Croatian has also been making waves on the Tennis Europe Junior Tour this season, having been a part of the winning Winter Cups team and runner up in Messina, and he posted a 6-2 6-2 win to finally claim his first Category 1 singles win, a memorable moment for any junior.

Anastasiya Zholdakova surpassed all expectations as she notched her first win of the year. Her previous best result was a semi-final appearance at the Estonian Junior Open, after several quarterfinal and R16 showings. The loss of top seed Kateryna Lazarenko in round three opened the top half of the draw and Zholdakova took full advantage, showing no nerves in her first final. Facing an exhausted compatriot Anastasiya Lopata, who had come through an arduous late-night marathon semi, the eleventh seed kept her friend’s suffering to a minimum with a decisive 6-2 6-1 win the next morning.

More silverware was earned by players from the host nation as Illya Maksymchuk & Dmitriy Parintsev won the boys’ doubles.  Lazarenko made up for her disappointment in the singles by taking the girls’ doubles title with Sabina Zeynalova| Gallery

Category 2

16&U Torneo Internazionale - Crema, Italy

There was to be a treat for the home crowd regardless of the result as two Italians faced off in the boys’ final. In the end, the unseeded Saverio Trippetti was too strong for the fourth seed and Biella quarterfinalist Giulio Perego, taking the final 6-3 6-4. Over in the girls’ draw, there was another upset, with the top seed going down. In an all-Belarusian final, third seed Evialina Laskevich got the better of her more fancied compatriot Aliona Falei. Quarterfinalist in Milan last week, the Belkanton Cup and Minsk Star winner could not find what she needed to get the win and fell 6-4 6-3, her 2nd runner-up spot for the year.

The boys’ doubles win went to Giuseppe Bonaiuti & Gabriele Datei (ITA) scraping through a tough final against compatriots Mirko Lagasio & Paolo Rosati 4-6 6-4 10-6, while top seeded Croatians Lucija Ciric Bagaric & Tara Wurth took home the girls’ doubles trophy, 6-2 6-0 winners over Italians Alice Benvegnu & Sofia Antonella Caldera.

14&U Liepaja International - Latvia

China’s Qing Lihao has made inroads this year on the tour. A two-time singles semi-finalist and with a slew of doubles victories under his belt, the Chinese player finally posted his maiden singles tournament win of 2018. He defeated top seeded Russian Maxim Zhukov 6-1 4-6 6-0 in the boys’ final. His compatriots, Ye Hongyu & Gu Tonghan made it an all-Chinese affair for the boys as they nabbed the doubles title.

Unseeded local player Valeria Kargina defeated fourth seeded Brit Hannah Smith 6-2 6-1 in the girls’ final, to make up for her loss in last month’s Tallinn final. Playing on home soil would have clearly made the win all the more sweeter, irrespective of her loss in the doubles final to Maryia Stsetsevich & Hanna Tsitavets of Belarus. 

For full results in all events and categories here and elsewhere from this past week, please click here, or to view the week's photo galleries, click here.  

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