Tennis Europe Junior Tour

Alcaraz & Bartone victorious at European 16&U Championships

Alcaraz & Bartone victorious at European 16&U Championships

Carlos Alcaraz (ESP) and Kamilla Bartone (LAT) have added their names to an illustrious list of winners that includes the likes of Simona Halep, Grigor Dimitrov, Daria Kasatkina and Fabio Fognini at the 16 & Under European championships in Moscow. Alcaraz becomes the second Spaniard in three years to win the title while Bartone is the first Latvian to lift the trophy. There was to be victory in the doubles for the girls from Belarus, as Victoryia Kanapatskaya, the winner last year, and Jana Kolodynska took the title. To cap off a weekend where the trophies went to winners from different nations, Michael Frank and Lukas Neumayer were the first boys’ winners from Austria in 40 years.

Having come into the tournament as slight outsiders, both champions were on form in Moscow. The boys’ winner, Alcaraz, did not have an easy draw by any means and was made to work for his trophy. He was pushed to seven games in both sets in the first round, but he managed to pull through. His round of 16 match against Egor Agafonov (RUS) was a topsy-turvy three-set tussle, and in the following round, the quarter final, he halted top seed Holger Rune’s quest to become just the third player ever to win the European 14 and 16 titles in successive years. His straight set dismissal of the number five ranked player gave him great confidence moving on to the semi-final, where he outdid Jerome Kym of Switzerland for the loss of six games. His opponent in the final was Rune’s countryman Elmer Moller, the 2017 Bucharest 14&U Champion (Dr Oetker Trophy). As the seeds in his half of the draw fell by the wayside, the only seeded player he encountered en route to the final was in the third round. Except for his three-set win in the semi-final over Italian Luciano Darderi, Moller was in dominant form, winning all other matches in straight sets. The final was another relatively straightforward match, however, and Alcaraz claimed the title by defeating Moller 6-4 6-3. Alcaraz was half of last year’s 14&U doubles runner-up team in the European Junior Championships, and can now proudly add this winner’s trophy to his collection.

Eyeing over her list of match wins en route to the final, Bartone’s scoresheet reads as the equivalent of a high school student methodically acing all her year-end exams one by one.

Her fantastic summer form was clearly on display in the Russian capital, as she swept through the field without dropping a single set the whole week. Coming in as the number six seed she had some great wins along the way, including over Avvenire Runner-up, Italian Asia Serafini as well as what was arguably her match of the tournament where she completely outplayed the number two seed Elina Avanesyan, gifting the Russian just one game. As no previous champion had come from Latvia there was definitely going to be one this year, as both finalists hailed from the Baltic nation. Although the top seed, Kanapatskaya, was ousted in the first round, Patricija Spaka for her part, made fantastic inroads, dismissing promising names such as Ziva Falkner (SLO) and, in the semi-finals, Tara Wurth (CRO) on her way to the match against her compatriot. Spaka was hoping to add to her recent win at the Toyota Cup, but it was not to be, as Bartone was too strong and won the title 6-1 6-3. This is a great result for Spaka nonetheless, who vastly improved on her result here last year, where she lost in the second round.

For many tennis fans doubles is just as exciting, if not more, than the singles. The draws and the potential matchups in Moscow were quite intriguing. In the top half of the draw the top seeded Russians Egor Agafonov & Alibek Kachmazov  were taken out by the eventual finalists, Peter Fajta & Zsombor Velcz of Hungary. Curiously, in round three in the bottom part of the draw, Alcaraz along with his partner Mario Gonzalez, defeated the Danish pairing of Rune & Muller - both of whom he defeated individually to capture the singles crown. However, the Moscow double was not to be for Alcaraz as the Spaniards were then taken out by the eventual champions in the quarterfinals. The Austrians had to come through some gruelling matches, but showed their mettle by surviving their second championship tiebreak decider to qualify for the final, where they again needed an always nerve-wracking decider to beat the Hungarians. Frank & Neumayer deservedly lifted their trophies after a 6-4 2-6 10-2 win, having shown great fight throughout the tournament.

The Russian top seeds Polina Kudermetova & Maria Timofeeva advanced into the final without dropping a set on route. Their opponents in the finals were to be the team from Belarus, made up of Kanapatskaya & Kolodynska, who had had a couple of tough victories on the way to the decider. Their two preceding matches before the final, were decided in tight championship tiebreaks. The final was less dramatic and went the way of the Belarusians which brought some satisfaction to Kanapatskaya. Although falling short in the singles, this doubles title will serve as some sweet consolation for her. The final score was a close 6-4 7-6(6) win for the Belarusians, and the second successive gold medal in doubles here for Kanapatskaya.

After an amazing week in Moscow, which was highlighted by great organisation, fantastic camaraderie amongst the players and an excellent off-court atmosphere, focus now shifts elsewhere. Most (CZE) will play host to the European 14 & Under Championships, while Klosters will once again be home to the 18 & Under event. Follow us here as well as on Twitter and Instagram for updates, photos and more from both events.

Draws and Results

Boys Singles | Boys Doubles | Girls Singles | Girls Doubles

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