The Czech Republic has once again proved themselves a force to be reckoned with yet another winner’s trophy in a team competition. This time victory has come in the form of the girls’ 16 & Under Summer Cups competition played on home soil in Marianske Lazne against Serbia. Meanwhile, over in Le Touquet in France, it was Spain who were the victors on the day of the boys’ final, in a stunning win over Italy, which included not one, but two come-from-behind stints for the champs.
The Czech Republic had a most formidable team which comprised of Magdalena Smekalova (#39), Lucie Urbanova (#11) and Tereza Valentova (#4). They had come through to the final rounds as qualifying zone A winners, with victories over Italy and Bulgaria. In the final rounds they defeated Poland 3-0 in the quarterfinals, backed up by 2-1 win over Spain in the semis.
On the day of the finals against Serbia it was their opponents, however, who hit the ground running. Teodora Kostović beat Smekalova in a tight two-set 6-4 7-6(0) win, giving the Serbs a 1-0 lead. Leveling up the tie, the top-ranked Czech player in the team turned things around in the second rubber with a straightforward dismissal of Mia Ristic, the eighth-ranked recent gold medalist at the European Junior Championships. So then it was down to the live rubber, in which the two Serbs returned to the field of battle. They were met by Valentova, who was joined by the fresh and nimble feet of Urbanova. This might have been what made the difference in the end because despite an easy first set, things did get tighter in the second. Nonetheless, after one hour and twenty-three minutes, the local players were able to post a 6-1 7-5 victory, sealing the match, the tie and the title.
The girls have managed to successfully defend the title they snatched back from Russia last year and look set to keep a firm grip on the trophy, winning what is now their fifth title as Czech Republic (plus four previous wins as Czechoslovakia). | 📷 Photo Gallery
BOYS (Borotra Cup)
The Spanish team was made up of Carlos Cordoba (#200), Rafael Segado Esteve (#52) and Martin Landaluce (#1). They won qualifying group D, with wins over Ukraine and France. In the final rounds they defeated Great Britain and Czech Republic by the same 2-1 scoreline to qualify for the final against Italy.
The Italians took a 1-0 lead in the tie as Lorenzo Carboni scored an amazing come-from-behind 2-6 7-5 3-6 win over Segado Esteve. Number-one ranked Landaluce, recent European Junior Championships silver medalist, got things back on an even keel as he got past the fifth-ranked and always tough Federico Cinà 7-5 7-5. So now, yet another final came down to the wire as all four players stepped back on court. Neither team held back, trading big serves, amazing passing shots as well as deft volleys. When all was said and done over two hours after the coin toss, it was Spain who took the match for a win that was equally thrilling for them as it was heartbreaking for the Italians. Coming back from a one-rubber deficit and then from one set down in the doubles decider, the 1-6 6-4 17-15 doubles win secured the 2022 European Summer Cups for Spain. | 📷 Photo Gallery
The players on the Spanish team were not even born the last time Spain won this competition back in 2004. This win now brings their overall tally to seven.
JUNIOR DAVIS & BILLIE JEAN KING CUP FINALS
In the girls’ bronze medal tie, Germany defeated Spain 2-1, while in the boys’ competition France defeated the Czech Republic by the same scoreline. Here is a look at the final standings, keeping in mind that the top five teams (in bold) plus the host Türkiye qualify to compete at the Junior Davis Cup and Junior Billie Jean King Cup Finals in Antalya (TUR) later this year.
Boys' Final Standings:
- Czech Republic
- Great Britain
Girls' Final Standings:
- Czech Republic