Alena Kovackova (CZE) and Sergio Planella Hernandez (ESP) have scored big wins at the Category One 16 & Under Memorial Nacho Juncosa in Vic, Spain. Girls' #1 Kovackova improves her winning run to 21 consecutive matches and wraps up a sixth title of 2022. Meanwhile, unseeded Planella upset three seeds on the road to his first tournament win of the year.
In the boys’ draw, top seed and Race to Monte-Carlo leader Nicolai Budkov Kjaer (NOR) progressed comfortably to the final, dropping just one set en route, against the Italian qualifier Giovanni Ciocca in the quarterfinals. In the other half, Planella was making a giant-killing run that included a series of wins over higher ranked players, including third seeded Croatian Antonio Voljavec and fifth seed Arturs Zagaras (LAT).
He saved the best for last though, coming back from the loss of the first set to concede just two more games to Budkov, and finally win his first Tennis Europe Junior Tour title from four finals.
Planella’s Road to the title:
R1: def Antonio Voljavec  (CRO) 6-4 6-4
R2: def Luca Talan Lopatic (SLO) 6-2 6-4
QF: def Arturs Zagars  (LAT) 6-2 6-1
SF: def Pere Prat Turró (ESP) 7-5 6-2
F: def Nicolai Budkov Kjaer (NOR) 4-6 6-2 6-0
Czech powerhouse Kovackova is enjoying one of the all-time great Junior Tour seasons so far and has been almost unstoppable in her 36 matches this year. She breezed through her first five sets in Vic for the loss of just one game before Eugenia Menendez Zozaya (ESP) levelled their quarter-final at one set all. Kovackova dug deep, regaining her focus to concede just three more games in the remaining two matches, all of which were won by runner-up Eva Zabolotnaia (MDA).
Kovackova’s road to the title:
R1: def Alba Maria Coromina Boluda [Q] (ESP) 6-0 6-0
R2: def Marya Kornilova [Q] 6-0 6-1
QF: def Eugenia Menendez Zozaya  (ESP) 6-0 4-6 6-4
SF: def Luna Vujovic (SRB) 6-0 6-0
F: def Eva Zabolotnaia  (MDA) 6-0 6-3
Look for Kovackova to maintain her stranglehold atop the Race to Monte-Carlo rankings and for big moves among some of the boys.
Boys’s doubles final:
Nicola Budkova Kjaer (NOR) & Mateusz Lange (POL) def. Rares Teodor Pieleanu & Radu David Turcanu (ROU) 4-6 6-2 10-8
Girls’ doubles final:
Ksenia Efremova & Alena Kovackova (CZE) def. Scarlette Hetherington (FRA) & Luna Vujovic 6-4 7-5
Elsewhere on the Tennis Europe Junior Tour this week:
- Constantin Neubauer (AUT) won his first singles and second doubles titles of the year at the Mladost Grill Open in Zagreb. Look for him to move ↑ in the Race and week-to-week rankings
- Tamina Kochta (GER) also scored singles-and doubles wins in Ulcinj, Montenegro
- Race #9 Niels McDonald (GER) won his first singles event of the year in Ulcinj
- After two lost doubles finals in 2022, Marko Dragovic (SRB) took the doubles title in Ulcinj with Skender Katana (MNE), the two-time runner-up at the Development Championships
- Singles titles went to Francisco Sardinha (POR) and Briana Navarro Meneu (ESP) at the Top 10-12 in Bressuire (FRA)
A full list of last week's winners is here. For this week’s calendar, including the latest from the 14 & Under Category 1 event in Most (CZE), click here.