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Russia, Czech Republic win 16 & Under world team titles

Russia, Czech Republic win 16 & Under world team titles

Czech Republic has won the first edition of the newly renamed Junior Billie Jean King Cup, while Russia have claimed the title at the Junior Davis Cup. They defeated Japan and Russia in the girls’ and boys’ finals respectively, at parallel events taking place in Antalya, Turkey. This is the fourth title at this event for the Czech Republic, while it is Russia’s second.*

This brings to culmination a long period of dominance for the Czech girls’ team, comprised of Nikola Bartunkova, Brenda Fruhvirtova and Sara Bejlek. This is the same team that went on an unbeaten run to claim the Summer Cups back in August as well as the 2019 ITF World Junior Tennis Finals (14&U). With an ailing Bartunkova having to retire mid-match during the Argentina round-robin tie, it was left to her teammates to battle hard. They rose to the challenge, winning all their matches. In the final against Japan, Fruhvirtova was too strong for Sara Saito winning 6-1 6-3, while Bejlek beat Sayaka Ishii 6-3 7-6(6) to seal the trophy for the Czechs. In 1985, Czechoslovakia won the maiden BJK Cup Finals (then known as Junior Federation Cup) and since then have won on three previous occasions: 2000-2001 featuring Barbora Strycova and Lucie Safarova; and 2015 featuring 2019 Roland Garros runner-up Marketa Vondrousova.

Meanwhile, Yaroslav Demin, Maxim Zukhov and Danil Panarin formed the victorious Russian team. The team lost only one rubber during the entire tournament, in their first round-robin match against Mexico, and went from strength to strength from thereon. In the final, the French team - made up of Arthur Gea, Antoine Ghibaudo and Gabriel Debru - went in as second seeds and favourites over the Russians. It started well for France, as Debru took the first set from Demin. After that it was smooth sailing for Russia, as Demin beat Debru 3-6 6-3 6-1. Zhukov doubled down in emphatic form in the second rubber, dominating Ghibaudo for a 6-1 6-3 win thus earning Russia their second trophy in this competition, their first having come in 2016. (*The Soviet Union won the event in 1990, featuring Russia’s Yevgeny Kafelnikov and Ukrainian Andrei Medvedev.)

European nations featured prominently at the events, providing 50% of the seeded teams in both competitions as well as three girls’ quarterfinalists and four of the boys’ quarterfinalists. Three of the four girls’ semifinalists were European teams.

Final Standings - Junior Billie Jean King Cup

1. Czech Republic
2. Japan
3. Russia
4. Germany
5. Canada
6. Morocco
7. Peru
8. Mexico
9. Thailand
10. Romania
11. Turkey
12. Hungary
13. Chile
14. Argentina
15. Egypt
16. Hong Kong

Final Standings - Junior Davis Cup

1. Russia
2. France
3. Mexico
4. Argentina
5. Czech Republic
6. Japan
7. Germany
8. Canada
9. Brazil
10. Bulgaria
11. Turkey
12. Republic of Korea
13. Chile
14. Egypt
15. Hong Kong
16. Tunisia

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