The Summer Cups have made a welcome return, being the first European junior team event to be held since the pre-pandemic Winter Cups by HEAD in February of last year. Sixty-eight teams were in contention at the qualifying rounds played in eight cities across Europe last week. This weekend saw the culmination of the competition as the last eight surviving boys and girls teams took to the courts at the final rounds played in Spain, where an excellent streaming service was offered daily by the Club de Tenis Valencia. Meanwhile, the girls played their final rounds 1000 km along the Mediterranean coast in San Remo, Italy.
The hot favorites going into the tournaments were Russia with a boys team made up of three of the top five players on the 14 and Under ranking. However the top seeds were knocked out in the first round by a strong Czech Republic team as #6 ranked Jan Kumstat defeated #5 Egor Gorin and #2 Maxim Mrva kept #4 Egor Pleshivtsev at bay in their singles matches. Another upset came in the form of a 2-1 victory by Switzerland over number three seeds Germany. The other semi-final spots went to hosts Spain and Italy.
In the girls draw, the Czech Republic caused another upset by taking out fourth seeds Spain 3-0, while Bulgaria achieved the same feat with a 2-1 victory over second seeded Ukraine. Slovakia ended Switzerand's hopes of defending their title from 2019, while Russia advanced with a 3-0 win over Belarus.
The Czech boys team showed no signs of slowing down, doing one better in their semi final ousting Switzerland without the loss of a rubber. In form Federico Cina led the fightback as Italy came from behind to end home hopes with a deciding doubles victory over Spain. The win marks Italy’s seventh appearance in the final, while Czech Republic appear in the championship showdown for a third time.
There were no major shocks in the girls’ event as the match-up between two unseeded nations went the way of the Bulgarians over the Czech Republic, who fell just short of emulating the feat of their male counterparts in reaching the final. The Russian girls advanced to their 15th final but they were made to work hard for it by Slovakia. Number one ranked Alina Korneeva was upset in the second rubber by #22 Renata Jamrichova and it came down to the deciding doubles to send the Russians through with a 2-1 win.
DAY 3 - Finals
Girls Final: Russia def Bulgaria 2-0
Number 18 on the rankings, Mirra Andreeva defeated Rosita Dencheva 6-1 7-5 to give Russia an early lead. Following this, Alina Korneeva was even more convincing in her win over Yoana Konstantinova, securing the crown with a 6-2 6-2 win. With the title already secured, the teams opted not to play the doubles. For the Russian team, which also featured Daria Egorova, this marked a record-extending ninth title in this age group and first since 2015.
Boys: Italy def Czech Republic 2-0
As in the girls’ final, only two matches were needed to secure just the third ever victory for the Italian team. Their first winner’s trophy was in the inaugural Summer Cups in 1979, and the next more than three decades later in 2016. Andrea De Marchi started Italy off strong with a 6-2 6-2 win over Jan Kumstat. Ninth-ranked Federico Cinà was tested a little more, but still came out on top over second-ranked Maxim Mrva to extend his Junior Tour win streak to 8 matches. The third player who also helped the Italian team to victory was Jacopo Vasami.
The losing semi-finalists and remaining four teams played out their consolation ties. Full results from the final and qualifying rounds can be found here, with the final standings below.
FINAL STANDINGS - BOYS
2nd: Czech Republic
FINAL STANDINGS - GIRLS
4th: Czech Republic
This age category of the Summer Cups also serves as the European qualifying event for the ITF World Junior Tennis competition. The top 5 boys’ and girls’ teams, plus hosts Czech Republic, will qualify to compete at the world finals in Prostejov in August.
More Summer Cups action is still to come later this month. The 16 and 18 & Under age groups will compete in four weeks, with the qualifying rounds set be held during the weekend of 28-30 July, followed by the final rounds from 2-4 August.
Future Davis Cup and Billie Jean King Cup champions including Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Kim Clijsters and Amelie Mauresmo all won their first international team events at the Summer Cups.