American players took centre stage at this year’s Nike Junior International Bolton Teen Tennis, sweeping the board in almost all events in the north-western English town near Manchester.
Local players did find some joy however, in this prestigious event that has been running for 23 years. The U14 tournament is an important Category 1 event that has seen the likes of Andy Murray and Caroline Wozniacki grace its courts.
The singles events were dominated by the American visitors. All four boys’ semi-finalists, and three of the girls’ hailed from the States. It was a similar story in the doubles, with the girls’ winners taking their trophies back across the Atlantic, as did the runners up in the boys’.
The girls’ draw was a combination of by-the-book and storybook endings. The top half of the draw saw routine results, with number one seeded Cori Gauff progressing to the final without the loss of a set. However, the bottom half of the draw saw the unseeded Alexandra Yepifanova weave her way through the draw into the final. The final against the top seed was one ask too many however. Although she put up a tough fight in the first set, Gauff was simply too good in the second, taking the title 7-5, 6-2.
In the boys’ event, British number one seed Derrick Chen lost his first match to Brazilian qualifier Pedro Boscardin Dias who was, in turn, taken out by eventual finalist Martin Damm, seeded seventh. Damm then accounted for fellow American Alexander Bernard 7-5 in the third set. On the other side of the draw, the unseeded Aidan Mayo defeated local player Jack Pinnington Jones for the loss of just two games to set up a semi-final clash against fourth seed Toby Alex Kodat. The semi was a straightforward affair, with Kodat winning in straight sets, and thus booking a spot in the final. It started off, fairly even, with neither player giving anything away. One break was all Kodat needed to take the set 7-5. With that psychological advantage, he gained momentum and pulled away taking the second set, and the trophy, 6-0 in the second set.
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