Kremlin Cup, Ryazan (RUS, 14&U)
After 14 days of quality competition, it was a case of two Category 1 finals in as many weeks for a promising pair of Russians. Maxim Zhukov has won his second title in a row, while Elena Pridankina went one better than last week’s runner-up spot to claim the 2019 Junior Kremlin Cup titles. Home players dominated the singles, but with players from 15 different countries in action, the doubles saw success for outsiders. The boys’ title went to Marc Majdandzic (GER) & Daniel Zimmermann (AUT), while Valery Gynina (RUS) & Jana Stojanova (MKD) were the girls’ champions.
The top seed Yaroslav Demin cruised through the early rounds unhindered. He ran into an inspired Gabriele Debru (FRA) who had played fantastically as an unseeded player to earn a spot in the semis. He took it to Demin in the first set, taking it to a tiebreaker, but the Russian was too strong and won the second set to love to seal a place in the final. Zhukov, fresh off his victory at the Christmas Cup, was also looking very strong in the early rounds, with easy straight sets victories. The final clash of the local titans - the top two seeds, friends and doubles partners - lived up to all expectations. The two Russians went all the way in what was an enthralling battle. The top seed took the first set before Zhukov steadied and fought back to take the next two sets and post a 2-6 6-4 6-4 win. Having scored his first ever Category 1 win last week, Zhukov has now added a second just a week later – an impressive feat.
In the girls’ draw, there was to be more disappointment for the top seed Anastasiia Gureva. Although she did make it one round further than her previous tournament at the Christmas Cup, she was eliminated in the semi-finals by the eventual champion. Pridankina was on form and played extremely well throughout the tournament, not giving away any sets or more than three games in any given set on route to the final. In the bottom half of the draw the third seed, Elena Kasatkina, had progressed with some relatively easy wins of her own. In the semis she ran into her compatriot Diana Lemanova and was taken to three sets but prevailed to book a spot in the finals against Pridankina. In the final, Kasatkina was the first player to be able to take a set off Pridankina. However, the fourth seed regrouped after the narrow loss of the second set and came away with a 6-3 5-7 6-1 victory. In 2017 Pridankina won a Category 2 event in Jerusalem and last week was the runner-up in Khimki. This latest step forward sees her win her first Category 1 event, and she will be knocking on the door of the 14 & under Top 10 when the rankings are updated.
The doubles draws were filled with exciting match-ups and interesting pairings, with the top seeds being Demin & Zhukov. The second seeds, Pavel Lagutin & Ruslan Serazhetdinov, advanced to the quarterfinals where they were taken out by the eventual champions, who had earlier overcome the Cypriot-British pairing of Andreas Pantazis & Dilhan Wasantha. That quarter final encounter was a turning point in the tournament for the fifth seeds, Majdandzic & Zimmermann, as they took the third set championship tiebreak 10-6 over the second seeds to make it to the semis. The top seeds had cruised through to the semis where they were taken out by the Belarusian-Ukrainian combination of Mikalai Bankou & Maxym Kulish. The final, however was relatively one-sided and went the way of the German-Austrian pair 6-0 6-4.
The girls’ doubles was the only event in the tournament where the #1 seeds fulfilled their seeding, emerging triumphant after some comfortable wins. In the semi-finals Gynina & Stojanova defeated Alevtina Ibragimova (RUS) & Pridankina, thus preventing Pridankina from reaching a second consecutive Category 1 final in doubles as well as singles. Their final opponents were Valerija Maija Kargina (LAT) & Polina Skopintseva (RUS), who had earlier defeated the number two seeds Kasatkina & Anna Sedysheva (RUS). The top seeds were simply too strong - Gynina & Stojanova completely shut out their opponents in the decider, and were able to hold their trophies aloft after posting a 6-0 6-2 scoreline.
Category 2 - 19th Tennisline Cup, Milovice (CZE, 16&U)
There was just one Category 2 event last week, which saw home players dominate in Milovice. All four semifinalists in all four events hailed from the home nation. 2018 Junior Masters qualifier Matthew William Donald defeated Daniel Siniakov 6-4 6-2 in the boys’ singles final to claim his first 16 & Under singles title. Kristyna Tomajkova also claimed the biggest title of her junior career so far, seeing off Dominika Salkova 6-2 5-7 6-4 in the girls’ final. The doubles trophies went to Hynek Barton & Oldrich Vejsicky in the boys’ draw, while Lucie Havlickova & Katrin Pavkova were the girls’ doubles winners.
This week sees the Tennis Europe Junior Tour spring into life, with a total of six events, highlighted by the Category 1 14 & Under Junior International in Bolton, Great Britain. Follow live scores here. For full results from all events and categories from this past week, please click here.