Khimki, Russia - The first ever ‘Super Category’ event has taken place on the Tennis Europe Junior Tour. The One SGM Christmas Cup kicked off the 2020 season with an amazing display for players and fans. The organizers put together a fantastic event, in which Martin Landaluce (ESP) and Victoria Milovanova (RUS) were crowned champions.
The girls’ top seed Jovana Grujic of Serbia was upset in the third round by unseeded local Mariia Masiianskaia. She was in turn taken out by compatriot Daria Shadchneva, whose run was then ended by the Estonian fourth seed Brit Martin in the semi-finals. Waiting for her in the decider was another unseeded Russian, Victoria Milovanova. The wild card recipient had torn her way through the draw, making a huge impact in the tournament by defeating the 13th seed in round two before overcoming the talented British player Hephzibah Oluwadare. In the semi-finals, Milovanova beat yet another seeded player in the form of compatriot Alina Korneeva.
The final was a close battle between two players likely to be amongst the Tour’s leading performers in 2020. Level after the first two sets, one break was enough for Milovanova to claim a 6-1 4-6 6-3 win. Having won five 12 & Under events in the past two years, the Russian now has a first 14 & Under title, captured on one of the biggest stages.
As the boys’ third seed, Landaluce’s route to the final was fairly comfortable, with easy wins in the early rounds. He was slightly tested in the first set of his semi-final against Czech opponent Peter Brunclik but dominated the second. On the other side of the draw, the top seed, Atakan Karahan from Turkey made it through to the final after a slight hiccup in round three and a tough three-set semi-final victory over the ninth seeded French player Theo Papamalamis. Sadly for him, a recurring back injury forced the Turk to retire at 1-4 down in the first set of the final, handing the title to the Spaniard. Landaluce has now had his biggest ever victory on the tour, his third overall, building on one win and one final last year as well as a 12 & Under tournament win in 2018.
Landaluce was able to have a double celebration, as he teamed up with Dmitry Bessonov (RUS) to beat Baptiste Laggia (FRA) & Andres Timini (CYP) to win the boys’ doubles final 6-1 6-4. In the girls’ doubles draw, Korneeva & Oluwadare made up for possible disappointment in the singles by picking up the doubles crown. They beat Russians Varvara Panshina & Maria Sysoeva in a close battle, 6-4 7-6(4).
The organizers at the Alexander Ostrovsky Academy have set an extremely high bar for Tennis Europe Junior Tour top-tier events. Extremely active on social media, the tournament once again featured a spectacular opening ceremony featuring a multitude of guests and musical and dance acts. Player ‘fundays’, Meet-and-Greets, raffles and interactive elements featuring stars such as Andrey Rublev, Stefan Bojic, Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina were also incorporated into the tournament, as well as a Tennis Europe Junior School class.
Full winners list from Khimki and elsewhere this week: https://www.tenniseurope.org/page/35674/Tennis-Europe-Junior-Tour-Winners
More information about Super Category tournaments: https://www.tenniseurope.org/page/37275/Super-Category