The in–form Jordan Lee (USA) and Czech Jana Kovackova (pictured, above) won the 14&U Category 1 Ensana Piestany Cup this past week in Slovakia. It was a breakthrough win for the American player on Tennis Europe Junior Tour, while Kovackova won her first title in this age category, adding to her impressive haul of four 12 and Under wins.
In his previous event, Lee (pictured, below) took out top seed Jakub Kusy (CZE) as well as three other seeds en route to his runner-up finish in Most. He was able to take this form with him to Piestany, a tournament which lost its top seed Marcos Ontiveros-Castro, recent Maia Super Category champ, in Round 2 and second seed Kusy in the semis. Lee defeated four more seeded players in Piestany, including #3 Tomas Kreji (CZE), on his way to the final. A come-from-behind win over home favourite Leon Sloboda in a marathon decider earned the American a 4-6 7-6(7) 6-1 win.
Kovackova was the ninth seed coming into the tournament and was perhaps flying low on people’s radar. Top seed Veronika Sekerkova, currently ranked sixth in the 14&U Race to Monte-Carlo, was the clear favorite and stormed to the girls’ semifinals with four consecutive straight sets wins. That is where her story ended though, as she ran into an unstoppable Kovackova. The ninth seed was in imperious form, winning all of her matches in straight sets and sweeping to the title for the loss of just 20 games in 6 matches. One of those games went to Sekerkova, while in the final second seed Sara Oliveriusova (CZE) was able to garner just two.
Kovackova is following in the footsteps of her older sister Alena – last year’s 14 and 16 & Under Player of the Year. So far on the TEJT she has racked up eight titles in 12&U events - four in singles as mentioned, as well as four in doubles. She had appeared in three previous 14&U finals and also reached the final of the 16&U Brno Cup three weeks ago. Expect her name to appear in this column regularly in the next couple of years. | 📸 Photo Gallery.
Boys: Tomas Kreji & Jakub Kusy (CZE) d. Rhys Lawlor & Leo Wright (GBR) 6-0 4-6 10-3
Girls: Sara Oliveriusova & Lucie Slamenikova (CZE) d. Barbara Kostecka & Oliwia Sybicka (POL) 6-7(5) 6-3 10-6
Elsewhere on the TEJT last week:
- Success for British players at the Cat.2 Grawe Open in Maribor (SLO). Hollie Smart beat Edie Griffiths in an all-British girls’ 16&U final, while Megan Knight took the girls 14&U win. Scott Watson was runner-up in the boys’ 14&U category, losing to Switzerland’s Brian Kriesi, while Paolo Angeli was a popular home winner of the boys’ 16&U event.
- Dmytro Vterkovskyi of Ukraine reached his fourth singles final of 2023 and picked up a third title at Cat.2 16&U Zabrze (POL). Home player Oliwia Drozdz won the girls’ event.
- A second singles title of the year (both on home soil in Serbia) for Relja Todorovic, who also teamed up with Samuel Sykora (SVK) for a doubles win at Cat.2 Subotica.
- Top seeds Pavel Dufek (CZE) and Keisija Berzina (LAT) claimed with Cat.2 14&U Wilson Cup titles in Rakovnik (CZE).
- Samim Filiz (TUR) scored a third singles title of the season - and first at 16&U level - at the Cat.3 event in Baku (AZE)
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