History has been made today: France (boys) have won their thirteenth 14&U boys’ Copa del Sol, beating first-time finalists Türkiye. Meanwhile, Romania (girls) have won their first ever Europa Cup, defeating Serbia who, like the Turkish boys, were playing in their maiden Summer Cups final.
France had stood on the winners’ podium on twelve previous occasions and proved too strong for the Turks in the end, taking the tie 2-0. Meanwhile Romania, in just their second final since their first in 2003, halted the mighty Serbians, who had earlier taken out favourites Great Britain as well as hosts Italy. The Romanians defeated their Balkan neighbours, taking the final 2-1.
→ The ever-dominant Czech Republic girls’ team were upset on home soil in the semis of Zone A qualifying by neighbours Slovakia. Veronika Sekerkova (Race #4) fell to Kali Supova (a 2022 Junior Masters qualifier!) while Sara Oliveriusova (Race #1) notched a three-set win over Nikola Farkasova, but the four players returned to court for the doubles which went the way of the Slovaks.
→ Another upset-of-sorts was the 0-3 capitulation of Great Britain to old foes France in the semifinals of the final rounds. Recent Roehampton Category 1 champ Rhys Lawlor could not keep Jules Nicolas Rimbaud at bay, while Race leader Mark Ceban fell to Lebanese-French player Daniel Jade in three sets.
→ The third-seeded Romanian boys’ team also fell at the same hurdle to an auspicious Polish team in the qualifying rounds.
Finals - Boys: Copa del Sol
France’s road to the title:
Qualifying: def. Latvia 3-0, def. Serbia 2-1, lost to Türkiye 1-2
Final Rounds: def. Poland 3-0, def. Great Britain 3-0, def. Türkiye 2-0
The Turkish team had the best average ranking (5) of all players from all teams. With three top-ten players (Filiz #2, Kosaner #4, Ege Sik #9), they were a force to be reckoned with and this was demonstrated from the event’s outset, beating Switzerland, Montenegro and France in qualifying before seeing off hosts Spain as well as Czech Republic in the final rounds. They had taken it to the French earlier in the event, upstaging the Gallics in the final of their Zone D qualifying group. Mustafa Ege Sik defeated Jules Nicolas Rimbaud 6-1 6-2, while Kaan Isik Kosaner fell to Daniel Jade 2-6 4-6 with the two Turks combining to defeat the two French boys 6-4 6-0 in the doubles to send Türkiye through as group winners from Denizli on home soil.
But in the final in Valencia (ESP), it was the French who exacted revenge and turned the tables on final debutantes Türkiye. Rimbaud, ranked number 52, took out the favoured Kosaner 7-5 1-6 6-4, before #12 ranked Jade got the better of Samim Filiz 6-1 6-2.
The Turkish team can still be extremely proud of their achievements in this year’s team events. Back in February they posted a top-3 finish, coming in third place at the Winter Cups. For the French, it was title number thirteen, with their most recent victory having come in 2018.
Girls: Europa Cup
Romania’s road to the title:
Qualifying: def. Sweden 3-0, def. Greece 3-0, lost to Serbia 1-2
Final Rounds: def. Germany 2-1, def. Slovakia 3-0, def. Serbia 2-1
It was a story of firsts for both nations, with each looking to score their first ever 14&U Summer Cups victory. Romania had previously made the final back in 2003, while the Serbians were playing in their first ever final.
Just like the French boys, the Romanian girls faced their finals opponents for the second time at this year’s event. The Serbians got the better of the Romanians on their home turf in qualifying Zone D in Timisoara (ROU), coming out as group winners. The seemingly unflappable second-ranked Giulia Popa lost her rubber to #45 Luna Vujovic in a surprisingly one-way contest.
However, playing in a final Popa was always going to be a formidable prospect. Possessing a win-loss record of 25-3 for the year coming into the event, and winner of three 16&U events as well as runner-up at Les Petits As, Popa stepped up when it was most needed.
After Vujovic beat Maia Ilinca Burcescu 6-3 7-6(7) to take the Serbs up 1-0 in the final, Popa put the Romanians back in contention with a 6-2 6-3 shut-out of Dusica Popovski. When the four players returned to court it was the Romanians who, after a tight first set in the winner-takes-all doubles, ran away with the match, posting a 7-5 6-2 win.
Final standings and ITF Finals Qualification
The Summer Cups tournament also serves as European qualifying for the ITF World Junior Tennis Finals in Prostejov (CZE) later in the year. Hosts Czech Republic as well as the top 5 teams (in bold) qualify for the event.
Boys Final Standings:
- Great Britain
- Czech Republic
Girls Final Standings:
- Great Britain
For complete results, photos and more click here.