Photo: Mathilde DusolDiede de Groot (NED)
Alfie Hewett and Nioo Langmann won the boys’ doubles title on the penultimate day of the Cruyff Foundation Junior Masters in Tarbes, while Diede de Groot and Mariska Venter claimed the girls’ doubles title.
Hewett, Martin de la Puente, de Groot and Viktoriia Lvova also advanced to Sunday’s boys’ singles and girls’ singles finals as Hewett and de Groot remained on track to defend their titles.
After going head-to-head in the boys singles semifinals, Hewett and Langmann produced a fine display to win the boys’ doubles as Hewett claimed the title for the third successive year and with his third different partner.
With Langmann largely controlling the back of the court, allowing Hewett to patrol at the net, the duo sealed a 61 63 victory over Dutchman Carlos Anker and USA’s Chris Herman, who partnered Hewett to victory in 2013, as last year’s doubles finalists all met again, although in different teams.
The girls’ doubles final ended with an even more comfortable win for de Groot and South Africa’s Mariska Venter, who recorded a 61 60 win against Lvova and Mexico’s Lizbeth Soto Rivera, with Dutch 17-year-old de Groot improving on her runners-up berth in 2013.
Singles finalists decided
Langmann surprised world No. 1 ranked Hewett in the boys’ singles semifinals as the two 16-year-olds went to head-to-head. With Hewett struggling to find his best form in the opening set, his doubles partner took an early 5-2 lead. However, world No. 4 ranked Langmann was unable to keep his nerve and serve out the set, allowing Hewett back into the game.
As in his last pool match, the errors crept in to the Austrian’s game and Hewett soon found the corners of court. The Briton was not to lose another game and a double fault from Langmann gave Hewett the opening set 7-5. It was the confidence that Hewett needed and he was to continue his success, reeling off 11 games in a row in total for a 75 60 win.
In the other semifinal it looked to be an average day’s work for 2013 runner-up Anker as he eased into a 2-0 lead.
Spain’s de la Puente came back with some aggressive play, putting Anker under pressure and taking five games in succession. But while Anker saved a set point to make It 5-3, de la Puente quickly earned another three set points, a netted backhand by the Spaniard keeping Anker’s ambitions alive. However, it was third time lucky for de la Puente as he took the first 6-3.
De la Puente seemed to be keeping his momentum as he moved 40-0 up in his opening service game in the second set, but he missed some otherwise easy balls in the open court and allowed Anker to get back into the game, Anker subsequently breaking his opponent’s serve.
De la Puente fought back to level the set, but once again errors were a key factor on his own serve and Anker came back from 40 15 down to win the next game. Service breaks continued to be exchanged until, at 3-3, de la Puente managed to hold serve. This was all he needed and he built on the success to move 5-3 up.
De la Puente netted a backhand on his first match point, but a forehand winner by eventually booked him his place in the final as he wrapped up a 63 63 victory.
The final set of round-robin matches in the girls’ singles ended with de Groot topping the four-player pool after a 63 61 win over Soto Rivera. Lvova also dropped just four games as she claimed her place in Sunday’s final by sealing second place in the pool after a 62 62 victory over Venter.
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