The Czech Republic have won this year’s Boys’ 14&U European Summer Cups, beating defending champions France 2-1 in the final in Murcia, Spain to take home the Copa del Sol. This is their second win from as many final appearances, having last won in 2003. Meanwhile, in San Remo, Italy, team Switzerland, playing in its first ever final, won a maiden Europa Cup, seeing off the defending champions in a come-from-behind 2-1 victory.
A total of 64 national teams took part in this year’s competition. Both defending champions managed to return to the finals with completely new teams. The Czechs looked especially strong, being the only nation to qualify for both the boys’ and girls'’ final rounds. Such is their might that they were also represented in both finals.
Boys - Copa del Sol
France had come through qualifying at home in Royan for the loss of just two rubbers. Initially easing past Norway 3-0, they then secured a berth in the final rounds with successive 2-1 victories, first over Italy, then against Croatia. Also playing qualies at home were the Czechs, who opened their campaign by making light work of Israel 3-0. They then backed that up with 2-1 and 2-0 wins over Serbia and Bulgaria respectively.
Final Rounds - Murcia, Spain | Photos
The Czech Republic held the home team at bay, winning 2-1 in the quarterfinal and then pushing past a resilient Croatia 2-1 in the semis. France looked formidable, fending off Germany 2-1 and then completely dominated the Bulgarians in the semis, shutting them out with a 3-0 win.
Antoine Ghibaudo started the title defence with a 4-6 6-1 6-1 win over Lukas Velik to put the French boys up 1-0. Vojtech Petr, winner of three Category 1 events this year including Les Petis As, put the Czechs back at 1-1 as he eased past Gariel Debru 6-1 6-1. Petr then teamed up with Jakub Mensik in the all-important deciding doubles rubber. The Czechs got off to a flying start, winning the first set to love. The French boys were in no mood to relinquish their title so easily, however. With more consistent play, they showed plenty of grit and really took the second set to the Czechs. In the end, it was not enough, as Petr and Mensik sealed the match 6-0 7-5 to clinch the title 2-1 for the Czech Republic.
1. Czech Republic*, 2. France*, 3. Bulgaria*, 4. Croatia*, 5. Germany*, 6. Romania*, 7. Great Britain, 8. Spain
Girls - Europa Cup
Both Czech Republic and Switzerland came through the same qualifying group Zone B played in Rakovnik (CZE). The Czechs had trounced Slovenia 3-0 and then beat Germany 2-1, while the Swiss girls defeated Israel 2-1 followed by a 3-0 whitewash of Croatia. The qualifying final came down to a championship tiebreak in the deciding doubles rubber, which the Swiss took 10-5, to qualify above the Czechs for the final rounds and ensured that the two nations would be in opposite halves of the draw.
Final Rounds - San Remo, Italy | Photos
Coming into the final rounds in San Remo, Russia looked to be in intimidating form, on a 9-0 match winning streak, not having lost one match in any of the qualifying rounds. They were taken out at the first hurdle by the Czechs, however, in the deciding doubles rubber. The Czechs strengthened and full of confidence, then ousted Ukraine 3-0 in the semi-finals. The Swiss dismissed the forlorn host nation 3-0 in the quarters and followed this up with a tense 10-8 championship tie break win in the live doubles rubber over Greece In the semis.
Resolute and determined to atone for their loss to Switzerland in the qualifying final, the Czechs were ready to face the Swiss for the second time in a week and defend their crown. Nikola Bartunkova got things rolling for the Czechs, putting them ahead after the first rubber with a 3-6 6-4 7-5 win over Karolina Kozakova, reversing the result of their tussle in the qualifying rounds. Celine Naef levelled things for the Swiss, exacting revenge on Kristyna Tomajkova 7-5 6-4 in the second singles match. Naef had teamed with Anina Lanz in their earlier doubles win over Italy, but in the final she was to play with Kozakova. The Swiss pair was too solid for the Czech combination of Bartunkova & Brenda Fruhvirtova, taking the match 6-4 6-4 and claiming the tie and the trophy 2-1.
1. Switzerland*, 2. Czech Republic*, 3. Greece*, 4. Ukraine*, 5. Serbia*, 6. Italy*, 7. Russia, 8. Slovakia.
The final rounds of the 14&U Summer Cups also serve as European qualifying for the ITF World Junior Tennis competition, set to take place in Prostejov (CZE) from 5-10 August.
The top 5 boys’ and girls’ teams (*), plus hosts Czech Republic, will qualify to compete in Prostejov.
The 16 and 18 & Under competitions will take place in four weeks: the qualifying rounds will be held during the weekend of 31 July – 2 August, and the final rounds from 5-7 August.