ITF/Tennis Europe Touring Team members scoop Barcelona titles
Another busy midsummer week on tour saw plenty of action at 11 events held across the region for the Tour’s three age categories, while the 14&U ITF/Tennis Europe Touring Team saw their three-week expedition come to an end.
Financed by the Grand Slam Development Fund, four boys and four girls have been playing at a series of TEJT events as part of the Touring Team: Boys: Vuk Krstajic (MNE), Mustafa Ege Sik (TUR), Dimitar Topchiyski (BUL), Itamar Verthaimer (ISR) Girls: Zumra Balkan (TUR), Tea Kovacevic (BIH), Oliwia Sybicka (POL), Kiira Pashkov (EST)
Coaches: Goran Shevchenko (MKD), Irina Kuzmina Rimsa (LAT)
The trip included a training camp at Dueren before the Super Category event there. The next stop was the Cat. 1 event in Hasselt (BEL), followed by another Cat.1 in Barcelona.
Some of the players posted some great results, with Balkan finishing runner-up in Hasselt while both Kovacevic and Krstajic were semifinalists there. Then in Barcelona, Verthaimer walked away with the title, while Sybicka and Pashkov faced off in the girls’ final. (More on that below).
After the event we also caught up with the girls’ finalists and got their impressions about their three-week experience with the Touring Team. “It was a great time. I met a lot of new people, and the coaches were great,” stated Oliwia Sybicka. “All the places were good, but Barcelona was definitely my favourite place. It’s a beautiful city and the tournament venue was really nice.” Pashkov added: “For me it was great too because I could practise more English and made new friends.”
The touring team allows players a great opportunity to experience life on the tour in a continuous stretch away from home, where there is a ‘team spirit’ which is very much alive. Sybicka noted, “Normally I travel with my parents, and it was the first time I was alone with just the coaches and other players. This is the longest trip I’ve done without going home…it was actually so good; I don’t want to go back!”
14&U Antonio Hernandez Cup, Barcelona, Spain
Held at the Emilio Sánchez Academy, the tournament is named after the former Sport Academy Director, who passed away some years ago. Many current top stars including Carlos Alcaraz and Paula Badosa are among the former champions of the event.
As mentioned, the Touring Team members won both singles titles in the Catalan capital. Itamar Verthaimer won the boys’ final against Kaloyan Shikov in a walkover. The Bulgarian was unable to play after having won the doubles as well as two tough three-set matches on the trot, a quarterfinal against Ege Sik’s conqueror Dario Ortega (ESP) and the semifinal win over fourth seed Leon Sloboda (SLO). Top seed Ege Sik was ousted in the first round but bounced back to reach the doubles semis with Verthaimer.
In the girls’ final the top two seeds faced off, with Olywia Sybicka getting the better of her friend and teammate Kiira Pashkov, with a 6-2 6-0 win. Notably, Sybicka played the 16&U event here earlier in the year and also took the doubles title there. At this event the following players were crowned in the doubles:
Boys’ doubles champions: Kaloyan Shikov (BUL) & Aleksandar Tolev (BUL)
Girls’ doubles champions: Oliwia Sybicka (POL) & Sofia Iakukhina
Elsewhere on the Junior Tour this week:
At the 12&U MNDB Open in Sofia, Bulgaria, Daniel Stoyanov (BUL) has helped his chances for an invitation to the 12&U Festival in Mallorca with his first title of the year, while Polina Orlova has claimed an amazing fourth title of 2023.
Winning on home soil at the 12&U Echter Italiener Cup in Regensburg, Germany, has also given Luys Calin and Lilly Marie Greinert a shot at getting to Mallorca by winning their first singles titles of the season.
The same tournament has a 16&U event, where Vanessa Svobodova (CZE) has claimed a fifth Junior Tour title of 2023, while Leopold Henss (GER) took his first.
The Cat.2 Argayon Cup in Nivelles, Belgium is a massive event with both 14 and 16 & Under categories. Here’s a breakdown of some stand-out results:
B16: Latvian Arturs Zagars claims his second win of the year, denying top seed Joao Morgado (POR) a second singles title of 2023. Watch the Race update tomorrow for some interesting moves.
G16: The singles title went to Maryia Kolas, who was a TEJT regular in 2021 on the 12&U circuit.
B14: Top seed Savva Rybkin is back to his winning ways with a fourth title from six finals this year. Expect him to move up from ninth spot in the Race to Monte-Carlo.
G14: Canadian Charlize Celebrini took the honours in this event
At the Cat.2 Brasov Cup in Romania, Matei Vitor followed up his quarterfinal run from Dueren Super Category event a fortnight ago to reach his sixth final of the season and claim a second title, also claiming the doubles with compatriot Iancu Manolache. Another Romanian, Maria Valentina Pop, won her second title from four finals.
At the 14&U Karen Kyureghyan Memorial Cup in Tsakhazdor, Armenia, the singles titles were won by Alexander Kunitsyn and Nita Skhiladze (GEO).
For final results from all this week’s events, please click here.
Israel & France dominate to win 12&U Summer Cups titles
The 2023 12& Under European Summer Cups by Dunlop Finals have been won by Israel (girls) and France (boys). Writing their names into the history books, the Israeli girls will be taking home the first ever European team title for their nation - in either Summer or Winter Cups. The French boys on the other hand add to a plethora of titles already won in the other team competitions. In this particular event, it is the third title for the team.
The final rounds of both events were held in France with the collaboration of the Fédération Française de Tennis. The girls played in the Corsican capital of Ajaccio, while the boys played in Dijon, in the Burgundy region.
Girls - Group A (Israel, Italy, Slovakia, Ukraine)
After the first two days of play, team Israel was the only nation to have secured two wins, with every other team, having a win-loss of 1-1. Slovakia notched their second win yesterday but Israel’s 3-0 victory over Italy sent them through to the final as undefeated group winners.
Girls - Group B (Czech Republic, France, Great Britain, Spain)
It was the same case for Great Britain, being the only team with two wins after two days. Their 2-1 win over the Czech Republic yesterday secured their undefeated path to the final.
Boys - Group A (Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary)
On home soil, and in hot form, the French boys were clear winners of this group. Undefeated and unrelenting in three straight rounds, they were inspired, making a statement and winning all three of their ties 3-0.
Boys - Group B (Belgium, Netherlands, Slovakia, Spain)
The first match turned out to be the decider: Slovakia were made to fight against their Belgian opponents in the first tie, with a 2-1 victory coming in the decisive doubles. This proved to be a key victory as both teams won their next two ties 3-0 and 2-1, meaning that the vital win on day 1 was what had secured Slovakia their spot in the final.
Girls - Israel def. Great Britain 2-0
A two-time finalist on the Junior Tour in 2023, it was Daniel Baranes who sent Israel up 1-0 with a 6-3 6-3 win over Liv Zingg. Then Ofir Manhard conceded only one more game than her compatriot to outdo Megan Knight 6-4 6-3 and give the Israelis an unassailable lead. The doubles match between Baranes & Daniel Blustein against Knight & Zingg was not played, with young team already celebrating the well-earned honour of taking home the first European junior team trophy for Israel. Prior to this win, Israel’s closest brush to victory came in 1988, when their boys’ 18&U team lost to Sweden in the Summer Cups final.
Boys - France def. Slovakia 3-0
The French boys kept up their momentum from the Round Robin stage, refusing to give an inch yet again to their opponents. Mario Vukovic, winner at Passagespoirs and finalist in Porto San Giorgio, got the ball rolling for France with a 7-5 6-3 win over Andrej Adamovic. Evan Giurescu, already a winner of two titles this year, then gave the home nation a decisive 2-0 lead with a tough 6-4 3-6 6-3 win over Max Lorincik, himself a three-time winner on the TEJT in 2023. And to keep an immaculate sheet, Giurescu & Samuel Dakessian ensured that France’s incredible unbeaten run remained intact, beating Adamovic & Matteo Sanson 6-0 6-0.
This third victory at this event for the French was made even sweeter by playing at home and given that their last win came all the way back in 2010 when the event was held in Alghero, Italy.
The girls from the Czech Republic and the Italian boys have won this year's edition of the European Summer Cups. It's the fifth trophy for the Italian boys, while the girls claimed the seventh title for the Czech Republic (plus four previous wins as Czechoslovakia).
➝ B16: Second seeded Greece was upset by an unseeded French team in the first round of Zone C qualifying. Andreas Messis, holder of two TEJT titles and number 3 in the Race earlier in the season, and Stefanos Pournaropoulous lost their singles before France won the doubles to seal the deal 3-0
➝B16: Portugal, although unseeded, did not pick Race frontrunner Joao Morgado to play in the singles matches against Spain and thus lost both singles rubbers to their Iberian cousins in round 2 of Zone D qualifying. Morgado was slated to play the doubles, but the dead rubber was forfeited by Spain, as they advanced 2-1 winners.
➝G16: Katarina Kujovic (273) fell to Eleejah Inisan (83) then Jeline Vandromme (33) took out Daphnee Mpetshi Perricard (24) to even it up for the Belgians. The four returned to the court and it was the Belgians who outplayed their neighbours in the deciding doubles rubber of the opening round of Zone B qualifying.
Borotra Cup: Boys’ Final
CZECH REPUBLIC vs ITALY - Le Touquet, France
After claiming the silver medal last year, Italy is taking home the gold this time. The first match of the day between Andrea de Marchi (ITA) and Jan Kumstat (CZE) started in favor of the Czech player, yet the Italian managed to turn the game around to his advantage, ultimately winning with a score of 1-6, 6-4, 6-3. As for his compatriot Federico Cina, who had faced Czech Maxim Mrva five times before, he secured victory in straight sets with a score of 6-4, 6-4. While the Czech Republic claimed the title two years ago, Italy hadn't won it since 2012.
Italy's Road to the final:
Qualifying Rounds: def Serbia 3-0; def Finland 3-0; def Romania 2-1
Final Rounds: QF def Croatia 3-0; SF def Germany 2-1
CZECH REPUBLIC vs GREAT BRITAIN - Marianske Lazne, Czech Republic
With Alena Kovackova (#6), Laura Samsonova (#7), and Eliska Forejtkova (#13) representing the country, the others might have had reason to fear the Czech squad – and for good reason. They advanced to today’s final with only one lost match during the qualifying rounds. Today, Laura Samsonova strengthened her team's advantage by swiftly defeating Hannah Klugman (GBR) with a score of 6-4, 6-2. Samsonova then handed over the reins to Kovackova, who delivered a strong performance and secured a 6-1, 6-3 victory against Mingge Xu. The Czech Republic is enjoying a stroke of luck with three consecutive gold medals at the Summer Cups.
Czech Republic's Road to the final
Qualifying Rounds: Bye; def Bulgaria 3-0; def Germany 2-1
Final Rounds: QF def Latvia 2-0; SF def Sweden 3-0
Junior Davis Cup & Junior Billie Jean King Cup by Gainbridge Finals
The Top five 16 & Under teams at the final rounds (plus hosts Spain) will qualify to compete at the Junior Davis Cup (Boys) & Junior Billie Jean King Cup (Girls) finals in Cordoba (ESP) later this year. Here are the final standings, with the qualified nations in Bold:
Belgium and Bulgaria claim 18&U Summer Cups titles
The Belgian boys and the girls from Bulgaria have won this year’s edition of the 18&U European Summer Cups. It’s the first title for Belgium, while for the Bulgarian girls this is their second consecutive trophy. In more historic news, the Summer Cups in Granville (girls) coincides with the centenary celebrations of the host club, which has been the venue of the Summer Cups finals for over 50 years, and has seen participation from some of the greats of the game.
➝ G18: Seeded first and fourth respectively, the Slovakia-Spain match in the semis of the final rounds was always going to be a mouth-watering prospect. Winner of the ITF J300 in Roehampton and Junior Wimbledon semi-finalist Renata Jamrichova was first up against recent European Junior Championship gold medalist Ariana Geerlings. The match went all the way, with the Slovak taking the third set 6-4. Nina Vargova had an easier time, dispatching last year’s 16&U EJC silver medalist Marta Soriano in straight sets.
➝ B18: More sad news for Spain as their boys’ team was upset at the first hurdle in the Final rounds. The unseeded and unheralded Italians played with a home-court advantage: Federico Bondioli was too strong for Alejandro Melero, winning their three-set tussle. Fabio de Michele then took care of business against 16&U EJC silver medalist (2022) Martin Landaluce in straight sets. The luck of the locals ran out in the following round as top seeds France dashed any hope of a home final for the Italians.
Valerio/Galea Cup: Boys’ Final
FRANCE vs BELGIUM - Rome, Italy
Last year, Belgium reached the final but fell to France. However, this year the Belgian boys redeemed themselves and demonstrated that they wouldn’t leave Rome without the gold. Alexander Blockx defeated Gabriel Debru 6-3, 6-4. Although the score might not suggest it, they engaged in an intense match that lasted for 1 hour and 46 minutes. Similarly, Gilles Arnaud Bailly didn't allow his opponent to win a set and secured the victory 7-5, 6-1.
Belgium's Road to the final
Qualifying Rounds: Bye; def Poland 3-0; def Italy 2-1
Final Rounds: QF def Serbia 2-1; SF def Czech Republic 3-0
Soisbault/Reina Cup: Girls’ Final
SLOVAKIA vs BULGARIA - Granville, France
At their second consecutive final, the Bulgarian girls knew what it takes to claim the Summer Cups trophy. First on the court today was Rositsa Dencheva, who won against European Junior Championships finalist Nina Vargova 6-3, 6-3. With a boost of confidence given by her compatriot, Iva Ivanova faced Renata Jamrichova and won 7-5, 6-3. Thus, they didn’t have to play doubles to determine the verdict: the Bulgarians -this year’s the golden medalists.
Bulgaria's Road to the final:
Qualifying Rounds: Bye; def Ukraine 2-1 def Romania 3-0
Efremova & Queiroz claim Super Category Düren titles
Ksenia Efremova and Luis Augusto Queiroz Miguel have won the 14&U titles at Dueren, Germany.
It’s Efremova’s second Super Category win of the year, adding to her win in Maia, plus the Category 1 Tim Essonne event, not to mention runner-up berths in Stockholm and at the 16&U Cat.1 in Torelló. Queiroz, from Brazil, is one of the top COSAT players currently touring around Europe, and has now won his third title of the summer on the Tennis Europe Junior Tour. | 📸 Photo Gallery
Efremova told us earlier this year that qualifying for the Junior Masters again was a goal of hers, and she went all out to make this a reality, blitzing through the field without dropping a set and conceding just 4 games in her opening 3 encounters. She swept past Barbara Kostecka (POL) 6-2 6-3 in the quarterfinal, before exacting revenge over her doubles partner and conqueror in the Stockholm final Anna Pushkareva 7-6 6-2 in the semis.
In the final she ran into a spirited Jana Kovackova, in great form coming off the back of Category 1 wins in Annecy and Roehampton. The Czech took the early initiative, going up a set and 3-2, before Efremova settled and began to reel the match back in. She dug deep and fought her way back, taking the title 3-6 6-4 6-1, returning to the upper echelons of the Race and all but securing herself a spot in Monte-Carlo.
It was a nightmare start to the tournament for the top two boys’ seeds as Samim Filiz (TUR) and Mustafa Ege Sik (TUR) were upset in round one and three respectively. Filiz mustered just two games, falling to Italian qualifier Mattia Baroni. In round three Ege Sik fell to another qualifier, Volodymyr Revenko (UKR), in a battle royale, surrendering 5-7 in the third. These losses opened up the draw, allowing other players to make their presence felt. Filip Ladman (CZE), who is himself no stranger to finals on tour in previous seasons, made it to his first final of 2023 and faced off against the Annecy champion, Queiroz Miguel. It was Ladman who struck first, claiming the opener 7-5. But the Brazilian showed his tenacity and slowly bridged the gap, levelling at 6-4. The third was more straightforward as Queiroz raced home 6-2, claiming his third tour title, having also won the 16&U Loire Vallée tournament in July.
In the doubles, there was a revenge of sorts for Kovackova over Efremova, the Czech having paired with compatriot Tereza Hermanova to eliminate Efremova & Pushkareva from the doubles in the quarterfinals. The Czech pair went on to the final where they faced Karolina Jecminkova (CZE) and Barbara Kostescka (POL) and took the match 6-3 3-6 10-6. The boys’ doubles final was won by the third seeded pairing of Eric Dylan Mueller (GER) & Artem Semenov who defeated Bulgarians Kaloyan Shikov & Aleksandar Tolev by an even tighter margin, 6-4 6-7(10) 11-9.
The tournament in Düeren has gone from strength to strength in recent years and was granted Super Category status along with a Les Petits As (Tarbes), Maia Jovem and KKDP (Stockholm). With strong social media coverage, live scores and live streaming the event received wide coverage throughout the week. A Tennis Europe Junior School session was held during the week introducing the players to topics including ‘Agents & Sponsorship’, ‘Anti-Doping’ and ‘Anti-Corruption’.
Elsewhere on the Junior Tour:
Max Lorincik (SVK) has won his second 12&U Cat.1 title at the Pisek Cup in Czech Republic. This puts him well in contention to receive an invitation to the 12&U Festival in Mallorca in November. Adela Jelinkova (CZE) was the girls’ champ, winning her first title of the year.
At the 14&U Cat.2 Eminent Open in Podgorica, Montenegro, Ecrin Lal Yavuz (TUR) was playing her third singles final of the year and notched up her second win. Honors in the boys’ singles went to Tymur Chukanov (UKR). It was a fantastic moment for the young player, having already been runner-up at four events already this year. Showing that perseverance and that good form pays off, he claimed his maiden title of 2023.
A runner-up finish last week at Dukes Meadows (London) was the perfect steppingstone for Oluwajomiloju Aminu (GBR), as he garnered his first title win this year and at the 14&U age level at the Junior International Halton. His compatriot, the aptly named Daniella Britton was a debutante in a 14&U final, also lifting her first piece of silverware at this level.
Open Stade Français and Annecy runner-up Michael Antonius (USA) won his first 14&U title at the Cat.2 Junior Bavarian Open in Augsburg, Germany. The girls’ 14&U Champ was Francesca Parcelli (GER) who also scored a maiden tournament win. In the 16&U event, Arian Hasas (GER) and Nicol Marie Jarolimkova (CZE) were also first-time winners.
The joint 14&U (Cat.3) and 16&U (Cat.2) in Krems, Austria event saw local Niklas Maislinger win his maiden title of the year, while another Austrian Lea Haider-Maurer won her third title of 2023. The 14&U Champions were Tomas Wirgler (CZE) and Carlotta Seling (GER).
This weekend sees the culmination of a great week of tennis overlapping with the start of yet another big week to come. Along with the 14&U Super Category tournament in Germany, the 16/18&U Summer Cups Qualifying rounds have come to a conclusion. No time to rest for the best teams though, as the Final Rounds will be played August 7-9. Draws will be published tomorrow evening here.
The Joint 14/16&U Baublie Jugend Cup in Renningen/Rutesheim (GER) has been a staple fixture on the TEJT for many years and is celebrating a special 25th anniversary edition, with a special social programme. Play is under way this weekend and the event will finish on 12th August. Find out more at: https://jugendcup.com/en/home/