PROSTEJOV, CZECH REPUBLIC: A thrilling final day of group matches saw the semifinalists decided at the World Junior Tennis Finals in Prostejov.
The Czech Republic girls’ team was the first through to the semifinals when they saw off Egypt in clinical fashion. Monica Kilnarova won the opening rubber 61 63 against Dalila Said in just 47 minutes before Marketa Vondrousova defeated Laila El Nimr 62 61 to give the Czech Republic the unassailable 2-0 lead they needed to book their place in the semifinals.
The Czechs will face USA in the semifinals after the Americans came through a tough final group match with Australia. In the opening rubber, Claire Liu held off a second set comeback from Seone Mendez to win 63 36 64 in a little under two hours.
Catherine Bellis then went into her match with Destanee Aiava knowing that a win would guarantee victory for her team. She started well, taking the first set 64. The second set was closer but it was the American who won that as well, completing a 64 75 victory and sending her team through. The USA then won the doubles 62 64 to complete a 3-0 victory.
It was a good day for the North American nations as Canada also booked their place in this year’s semifinals. They went into their match with Spain knowing that a win would see them through and they got off to the perfect start when Vanessa Wong recovered from a slow start to win the opening rubber 46 61 62 against Paula Arias Manjon.
This gave Canada’s No. 1, Katherine Sebov, the opportunity to seal Canada’s place in the semifinals. She did so convincingly, defeating Eva Guerrero Alvarez 63 64. Spain won the doubles rubber 64 75 but it was not enough to stop Canada advancing. When asked if they were excited about reaching the semifinals, the girls gave a unanimous reply, “Oh yeah!”
Their opponents in the semifinal will be Russia, who are yet to drop a set, and who completed another comfortable 3-0 victory today, this time over South Africa. Sofya Zhuk gave Russia a 1-0 lead with a 61 75 victory over Zani Barnard. Evgeniya Levashova then easily overcame Lee Barnard 62 64 and sealed Russia’s place in the semifinals. The Eastern Europeans then completed the whitewash with a 64 64 victory in the doubles.
Semifinals at the 2013 World Junior Tennis Finals
- Czech Republic v USA
- Canada v Russia
- Australia v USA
- France v Russia
France and Russia will play each other in the semifinals of the boys’ competition after both teams recovered from 1-0 down to win a deciding doubles rubber in their ties today.
France had a tough tie with Great Britain and it was the British team who struck the first blow when Finn Bass defeated Matteo Martineau 62 57 63 in two hours and 23 minutes.
Corentin Moutet then levelled the tie at 1-1 as he defeated Max Stewart 60 64. This meant that the doubles rubber would decide who progressed to the semifinals. Martineau and Moutet took on Dominic West and Stewart and took a close opening set 64. The second set went back and forth and eventually moved into a tiebreak. France raced into a 4-0 lead and the British pair were unable to recover the deficit, with the French taking it 7-4.
Russia went into their match with Canada in a similar situation to the French team, knowing whoever won would finish top of their group, and, just like France, they got off to a poor start when Philipp Klimov lost the opening rubber 60 63 to Benjamin Sigouin.
Artem Dubrivnyy started the Russian fightback with a 63 60 victory over Canadian Denis Shapovalov, meaning that the tie came down to the doubles rubber. Dubrivnyy and Klimov then teamed up to face Sigouin and Jack Mingjie Lin and they won a close opening set 64. After that, there was no stopping the Russian pair and they raced through the second set to close out a 64 60 victory.
The last team to book their place in the semifinals was the Australian boys’ team who defeated Brazil 2-1 to book their place in the next round. Australia’s Alex De Minaur took on Brazilian Igor Gimenez in the opening rubber with both players having enjoyed good wins in the tournament so far. The first set went to a tiebreak with De Minaur edging it 7-2 to take the opening set. He then won the second set 64 and gave his nation the lead.
Alexei Popyrin then took on Gabriel Decamps knowing a win would seal their place in the semifinals. It was Decamps who started the stronger of the two, however, and he took the opening set 75. Popyrin raised his game at the start of the second set, racing into an early lead. He was hampered by an injury mid-way through the set, but managed to close it out 63 and force a deciding third set. The injury took its toll in the final set, however and Decamps took full advantage, taking it 62 to send the tie into a deciding doubles rubber.
With Popyrin out of action for the doubles, the responsibility of seeing the team through fell on the shoulders of De Minaur and Kody Pearson. They faced Decamps and Lucas Cruz and were seemingly well in control when they took the first set 61.The Brazilians were not going to give in easily, and they fought back to take the second set 64. This forced the tie into a one-set shootout and it was the Australians who responded best to the challenge, taking the set 61 and booking their place in the semifinals.
When asked about the psychological edge that comes with progressing having won all three ties in the group, De Minaur said “It’s a great confidence booster. If we’d got there losing a match and just going through on sets, that wouldn’t mean anything.”
Their opponents in the semifinal will be USA after they came through a difficult tie with Argentina. Juan Bautista Otegui won the opening rubber for Argentina, defeating Samuele Riffice 61 76(4). USA No. 1, Gianni Ross, then went in to his match with Camilo Ugo Carabelli knowing nothing but a win would do.
The first set was close and went to a tiebreak which Ross won 7-5. Carabelli came out for the second set with a look of determination and he overpowered his opponent, taking the second set 60 to force the rubber to a deciding set. Ross received a pep talk from his captain during the break and it helped as he came back out to win the third set in impressive fashion 61 to force the tie into a deciding doubles rubber.
Ross and Riffice were the chosen pair for the doubles and they faced Carabelli and Otegui. They started well, taking the first set 64, before sealing the tie and their place in the semifinals by taking the second set 63.
A full round-up of today's matches can be found here.
You can keep up to date with all of the matches through live scores.