Photo: Martin SidorjakTeam USA
PROSTEJOV, CZECH REPUBLIC: Russia and USA made history in the final of the ITF World Junior Tennis Finals in Prostejov, Czech Republic. Russia boys won the competition for the very first time and USA became the first nation to win the girls' title six times.
The first rubber in the boys' final saw Patrick Kypson (USA) take on Philipp Klimov (RUS) in a very close match. The first set went to a tiebreak and it was Kypson who won it 7-4 to get USA off to a great start. The second set was just as close, with Kypson getting a crucial break of serve late in the set to win it 75 and claim the first point in the tie. After the match,
“I’m feeling good," said Kypson. "It was a good match for me to win.”
The second rubber saw two of the top players in this year’s tournament go head-to-head as Gianni Ross of USA took on Russia's Artem Dubrivnyy. Ross claimed the opening set 64 but Dubrivnyy fought back to take the second set 63 to force a deciding third set. Dubrivnyy came out the stronger of the two players in the final set, winning it 62 to level the tie.
The deciding doubles rubber saw Dubrivnyy and Klimov face Ross and Sam Riffice and was equally close with the two teams trading early breaks. Then, with the score at 5-5 in the first set, the Russian pair broke before serving the set out to win it 75. The second set did not see a single break of serve and was decided by a tiebreak. The Americans served for the set at 6-5 but could not convert and the Russian pair capitalised, taking the next three points to claim the match and, with it, their very first boys’ title in this competition.
The girls’ final was contested between the same two teams and the opening rubber saw American Claire Liu face Russia’s Sofya Zhuk. The Russian found her form earlier, winning the first set 62. The second set was even until Liu broke with the score at 4-4 before holding serve to claim the second set 64. Two breaks mid-way through the deciding set were enough to give Liu a 63 victory and USA a 1-0 lead in the final.
“I played pretty well overall. In the first set I wasn’t playing as well but then later I got warm and started to play better,” said Liu.
The second rubber saw America’s Catherine Bellis take on Russia’s Evgeniya Levashova. The Russian was struggling with nerves at the start and Bellis took full advantage, taking the opening set 61. Levashova fought back at the start of the second set but there was no stopping the American No. 1 and she raced through the second set, winning it 62 and giving USA their sixth victory in this competition.
With the USA 2-0 up, the decision was made by the two teams not to play the doubles. When asked how much winning the competition meant to her, Bellis said “It means so much, it’s such an honour to be representing my country and I’m so glad we won.”
The nations coming third in each competition were also decided on the final day and it was France in the boys’ competition and Czech Republic, the home nation, who made it on to the podium in the girls’ event.
France defeated Australia 2-0 with Matteo Martineau defeating Kody Pearson and Corentin Moutet overcoming Alex De Minaur.
Czech Republic defeated Canada 2-1 to finish third in the girls' event. Canada won the opening rubber when Charlotte Robillard-Millette defeated Monica Kilnarova in three sets. Czech Republic levelled the tie with Marketa Vondrousova defeating Katherine Sebov. The Czechs, backed by vocal local support, then won the doubles to claim third place overall.
Elsewhere, in the boys’ competition, Japan finished in 13th place after defeating India and Italy came 15th after overcoming Tunisia. In the girls’ competition, Japan defeated Thailand to finish in 13th place and Italy defeated Peru to finish 15th.
The full list of results can be found here.