The third week in January has been a big one in tennis all around. Along with the kick-off of the 2016 Australian Open, five Tennis Europe Junior Tour tournaments also took place this past week, spanning from Great Britain all the way east to a 12 & Under event in Azerbaijan, but headlined by the Category 1 14 & Under Nike Junior International in Bolton, England.
The boys’ final saw the tournament’s number one seed, Croatian Borna Devald meet Frenchman and number two seed Harold Mayot in the final. Devald and Mayot had made their way into the final after straight sets wins in all rounds except in the quarter finals where they were both extended to three sets. There was much expectation with the top two seeds meeting in the final, however in the end Mayot got the better of his opponent in two relatively comfortable sets, scoring a 6-2 6-3 victory.
On the girls’ side, there were some upsets and surprises. Four qualifiers made it past the first round, neither of the top two seeds made it to the final and of the four semi-finalists, not one was European.
In an all-Asian semi-final, number three seed Qinwen Zheng of China ousted Japanese top seed Himari Sato, while in the second semi-final, fifth seed Alexa Noel defeated unseeded American compatriot Vanesa Ong. After a rapid start by Noel, Zheng got into her stride and a hard-fought final was eventually played out, culminating in a tough third set. Ultimately, victory went to Noel 6-0 2-6 7-5.
News from tenniseurope.org, Yannis Blackburn