Yunseong Chung and Olga Fridman have won titles at the prestigious BNP Paribas Cup, arguably the world’s premier clay court 14 & Under event.
This year’s tournament was once again held at the Stade Français in Paris and featured an extremely tough draw with many of the world’s best 14 & Under players in attendance. ITF travelling teams from around the world ensured that the best European players were up against other future stars from Africa, Asia, South America and Australia.
There were plenty of shocks in the main draw. Girls’ second seed Maia Lumsden, who travelled to Paris straight from leading Great Britain to European Summer Cups victory the day before, was ousted in the first round by Lucie Wargnier of France, while the boys’ top seed Mikael Yemer (SWE) was despatched in the second round after a long battle with Britain’s Alexis Canter.
Canter’s run was ended in the quarterfinals by the eventual champion Yunseong Chung of South Korea. Unseeded, he breezed through the top half of the draw, beating Australian wild card Oliver Anderson in the semis to set up a final with Gian Marco Moroni of Italy. Moroni had earlier ousted second seed Kenneth Raisma (EST) and put up fierce resistance in the final, taking the first set on a tiebreak and being just points from victory in the second set before Chung levelled up with a tie break win of his own. Chung took firm control of the decider, breaking twice for a 6-2 win and a victory in his debut tournament on the Tennis Europe Junior Tour. Moroni, who was appearing in his third Category 1 final of the season, gains some consolation from the knowledge that he is likely to better his previous highest ranking of #16 when the rankings are next updated.
Girls’ top seed Olga Fridman of Ukraine kept her cool to collect her third Category 1 title of the season, despite some tough hurdles on the way. Having swapped the #1 spot with her friend Maia Lumsden in recent weeks, Fridman knew that a title would be enough to return to the top of the rankings following the early loss of her doubles partner. A pair of routine early matches was followed by tough three-set wins over Adeliya Zabirova (RUS) and Katarina Jokic (BIH) to secure a place in the semi finals. From there, Fridman hit top gear losing just three games in each of her final two matches, to Sofya Zhuk (RUS) and Ioana Diana Pietroui (ROU). Fast-rising Pietroiu has now reached the final of her last four tournaments and extends her win/loss record for 2012 to 25-6.
The boys’ doubles was won by Argentinean pair Nicolas Bacella & Genaro Olivieri, who recovered from the loss of a first set tiebreak to beat Djurabeck Karimov (UZB) & Tung-Lin Wu (TWN) 6-7(1) 6-2 (10-2).
Overseas players also dominated the girls’ doubles. Siqi Cao & Jiaqi Ren of China eventually won a titanic battle with Australians Kimberly Birrell & Priscilla Hon, 6-3 6-7(7) (10-8) to secure the title.
First held in 1990, the BNP Paribas Cup features stars such as Justine Henin and Fernando Gonzales amongst its former champions. Click here for a photo gallery from finals day.
Twelve other Tennis Europe Junior Tour events were held last week, including 12 & Under tournaments in Versmold (GER) and Sliven (BUL). The 14 & Under circuit also featured a Category 2 event in Bergheim (AUT), as well as Category 3 tournaments in Edinburgh (GBR), Meppel (NED), Ankara (TUR), Otocec (SLO) and Jablonec (CZE). Meanwhile, Category 3 16 & Under events were held in Aviles (ESP), Haskovo (BUL), Michalovce (SVK) and Kordin (MLT). Visit the Tennis Europe Junior Tour calendar to check the full results from all events.
This week, the Tennis Europe Junior Tour is highlighted by the Category 1 14 & Under Windmill Cup in Velp (NED), the next stop on the ‘Young Stars’ mini-circuit, with another seven events spread across the three age groups.