This first Category One 16 & Under event of the year was held in Spain last week, where Timofei Derepasko and Alena Kovackova emerged as champions. The event in Torelló went the way of the top seeds, with both players scoring resounding victories in the finals. Despite closing out their bids with such domination, the two champions did not tread the same path on route to claiming the title.
Coming off a strong 2021, 8th-ranked Derepasko was a heavy favourite for the boys’ title. Digging deep, he mustered the will to come back from a one-set-to love deficit, not once, but twice in back-to-back matches to kick off his campaign. These early battles fired him up, as never again was he to relinquish a set on the way to holding up the trophy.
Derepasko’s road to the title:
R1: def Pere Prat Turró (ESP) 4-6 6-3 6-4
R2: def Luka Talan Lopatic (SLO) 3-6 6-1 6-2
QF: def William Rejchtman-Vinciguerra (SWE) 6-1 6-3
SF: def Luis Llorens (ESP) 7-6(3) 6-4
F: def Gabriel Ghetu (ROU) 6-3 6-1
Europe’s 14 & Under #1, Kovackova has already notched up a third tournament win of 2022, adding to her Category 2 win in Milovice and Super Category victory at the Christmas Cup. The Czech leapt out of the blocks strongly, giving up just six games in her first two matches. A second set blip in the quarters, got her focus back on track, and thereafter she was even more ruthless, surrendering just two games in the final to unseeded Marina Lubsheva. She will now ascend considerably from #33 on the 16 & Under rankings, not to mention in the Race to Monte Carlo.
Kovackova’s road to the title:
R1: def Samaira Pahwa (IND) 6-1 6-3
R2: def Angelica Sara (ITA) 6-1 6-1
QF: def Emily Sartz-Lunde (NOR) 6-4 1-6 6-4
SF: def Charo Esquiva Bañuls (ESP) 6-1 6-2
F: def Marina Lubsheva 6-2 6-0
The singles champions backed up their wins by confirming their doubles prowess too. Derepasko teamed up with his vanquished singles final opponent Ghetu to win the doubles, while Kovackova partnered compatriot Ellen Katzerova.
Boys’ Doubles final:
Derepasko & Ghetu def Jan Smrcka (GER) & Leon Zaorski (POL) 6-4 6-4
Girls’ Doubles final:
Kovackova & Katzerova def Justine Bretnacher (FRA) & Martyna Mackiewicz (POL) 2-6 7-5 10-7
Another of the week’s main protagonists was the weather. Unseasonably cold and wet conditions made spectators duck for cover in the club house while coaches and parents braved the cold, shivering while spurring on their players. Shorts, skirts and tank tops were replaced with tracksuits, jackets and leggings, with the biting wind seemingly favouring those from colder northern European climates, who seemed to thrive in the blustery conditions.
Rain caused a slight delay at the beginning of the event, even surprising Tournament Director Joan Sadurni, “Normally the weather in March isn’t this bad. We were lucky that we were able to transfer some of our matches to the nearby Manlleu Tennis Club, otherwise we would have not been playing the finals on schedule,” he said.
This cold weather did not take away from the warm atmosphere away from the courts, with the players made to feel extremely welcome. “We have a small club, a friendly town and we are really proud to have a sense of community and family,” added Sadurni. In addition, the tournament also had a strong presence on social media.
📷 Photo Gallery | For more results from the past week from Vrsar and Veli Losinj (CRO), Nastola (FIN) and Iraklio (GRE) click here.