After a week filled with top-notch tennis and many unexpected results the Trofeo Bonfiglio tournament, one of the crown jewel events in junior tennis, crowned two seeded players as their 2016 champions.
Second seed Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece and fifth seed Olesya Pervushina of Russia captured their first ever Grade A-level tournament to draw the Milan-based event to a close. Tsitsipas boosted his winning record over fifth seed Ulises Blanch of USA to 3-1 by securing a 64 63 victory in the boys’ championship match. Pervushina ended the Cinderella story of Slovenian qualifier Kaja Juvan, who had upset five consecutive seeds before being turned back 64 60 by the Russian in the final.
For the 17-year-old Tsitsipas the feeling that the future of Greek tennis is resting on his shoulders has become a given. At 6-foot-4, and armed with a beautiful and rare one-handed backhand, the possibility exists he could be the player to put Greece on the tennis map in a big way.
“This is the most important trophy I lifted in my career so far,” Tsitsipas said. “I think this is going to stay in my mind for a long time. I live in a town near Athens, but now I’ve started to train in Mouratoglou Tennis Academy in France and I’ve seen a big change in my game. I think I improved my skills and my game very much. My everyday life is mostly focused on tennis: wake up, play tennis, gym, eat, play tennis again and go to sleep. I believe my physical part is the one that I have to improve more, it’s so important nowadays. I can say that I need to improve my serve a little bit even though today it worked quite well. I think I can still improve my one-handed backhand too.”
The No. 9 ranked Tsitsipas had twice before come close to securing a Grade A title, but ended up on the losing side of two finals. For the past two years, Tsitsipas journeyed to the Orange Bowl finals in Florida, losing to American Stefan Kozlov in three sets in 2014, and then falling to Miomir Kecmanovic of Serbia in a third-set tiebreaker in 2015.
In the girls’ competition, Pervushina was finally the seed capable of stopping Juvan, the upstart upsetter of the week. The victory was the third junior trophy of the year for Pervushina, who won Grade 1 titles at Caracas, Venezuela and Ibarra, Ecuador, earlier in the season.
Pervushina made it through the draw without facing a seed all week. In the first round she overcame Cao Sigi of China, then went on to defeat Claire Liu of the USA, qualifier Ylena In-Albon of Switzerland, Panna Udvardy of Hungary, Amina Anshba of Russia before turning back Juvan.
“It’s really a great result for me,” she said. “It’s the first time I win a Grade A event so I’m very happy and proud. Now I will be ranked number two in the junior ITF ranking, so today it was a very important match for me.”
In an all-Russian doubles affair, Pervushina made it a double victory when she teamed with Anastasia Potapova as the top seeds to defeat compatriots Amina Anshba and Elena Rybakina, the seventh seeds, 64 61.
In boys’ doubles, fourth seeds Benjamin Sigouin of Canada and Louis Wessels of Germany oulasted Lukas Klein of Slovakia and Kenneth Raisma of Estona 26 64 [11 9]. via itftennis.com