Coming in as the top seed and number one player, Alexander Blockx could not have asked for a better start to the year. The Belgian player has claimed his first Category 1 title at the Junior International Bolton, whilst also picking up the runner-up trophy in the doubles. In an all-Canadian girls’ final, the trophy was lifted by Victoria Mboko.
In 2018, Blockx was runner-up at the Category 1 tournament at the beginning of the year in Stockholm, before going on to claim two Category 3 events. He was the player to beat and did not disappoint throughout the tournament in Bolton, which featured a draw littered with leading players from around the world. He relinquished no more than four games in any match and was in fine form. Blockx’s opponent in the final was the number nine seed from France, Antoine Ghibaudo, who had earlier dispatched of second seeded local Luca Pow in a down-to-the-wire semi-final, winning it 6-7(3) 7-6(6) 7-6(5). The final was one-sided, as Blockx was unrelenting on a perhaps overworked Ghibaudo. The Belgian took the match and trophy with a 6-1 6-2 win, consolidating his number 1 status and stamping his authority on the top spot of the 14 & Under ranking.
The North American contingent was held at bay in the boys’ draw, although American Kyle Kang made inroads. Defeating three seeds along the way, Fran Rakonic (11, CRO), Fabio Nestola (8, GBR) and Rodrigo Pacheco (3, MEX), Kang fell to Blockx in the semis. In contrast, the girls’ draw was dominated by North Americans, with only one European player, Athina Pitta (GRE) making it to the semi-finals. She was defeated by the eventual champion, second seeded Victoria Mboko of Canada who then went on to defeat her compatriot Cadence Brace 6-4 6-3 in the final. The top seed Victoria Jimenez Kasintseva of Andorra, who won four events in 2018 including the Category 1 Sanchez Casal Youth Cup, was defeated by Brace in the quarterfinals. Ana Paradisi (ITA), Petra Marcinko (CRO) and Stella Remander (FIN) round out the other European quarterfinalists.
In the boys’ doubles, Blockx had the opportunity to go for the double win. Teaming up with his compatriot Gilles Arnaud Bailly, the top seeded Belgian pair easily advanced to the final where they went down to the American pairing of Joseph Phillips & Learner Tien 6-2 7-5. In the girls’ doubles, the number six seeds from France, Emma Jouy & Maelie Monfils defeated the top seeded Canadian partnership of Brace & Mboko. They won their semi-final encounter in a tough 10-8 third set championship tiebreak. In the final they were not able to consolidate this win and fell to the unseeded Danish-Finnish combination of Zoe Du Pasquier Jensen & Sade Scharlin 6-2 6-1.
14 & Under, NARVA CUP (Narva, Estonia)
The Latvian boys had a fantastic tournament with Gustav Dambins  and Davis Rolis  facing each other in the final. It went the way of the number eight seed with Dambins taking the match 6-3 6-2. The pair teamed up as the second seeds to overcome top-seeded Russians Dmitry Bessonov & Stepan Piskunov 6-7(4) 7-6(5) 10-7 in a nailbiting final.
It was almost the case of a double-double in the girls’ events, with Russian top seed Valeriia Krokhotina taking the girls’ singles title. She outdid her compatriot Taisiia Beliaeva 6-1 6-2 in the final. Korkhotina was denied the winners’ trophy in the doubles, however. Teaming with Estonian Victoria Maria Mandma, they went down 6-4 7-5 to local players Emma Namnieks & Desire Parn,
14 & Under, SMENA CUP (Minsk, Belarus)
Ukrainian seventh seed Alisa Baranovska had a fantastic tournament, taking both singles and doubles titles. She defeated Mirra Andreeva (RUS) 6-3 6-0 for the singles win, and partnered her compatriot Daria Yesypchuk to defeat Sofya Kashchenko & Polina Skopintseva (RUS) 6-1 6-1 in the doubles decider.
Belarusian top seed Mikalai Bankou won on home soil, seeing off Danylo Maslennikov (UKR) 6-0 6-1 in the singles final. The boys’ doubles trophy went to Renat Niyazov & Konstantin Shauraks after their 6-3 6-2 win over Daniil Ryzhankou & Daniil Sarksian (BLR).
This week, the tour has landed in Tarbes for the renowned Les Petits As Mondial Lacoste. Follow live streaming and scores from the world’s leading 14 & under tournament on the event’s website. For full results from this week please click here.