Saturday, June 7, 2014

Russians Sweep French Junior Singles Championships; Donaldson, Scholtz, Cunha Win Futures Titles

The reigning European 16s champions collected their initial junior slam titles today, with Russians Andrey Rublev and Darya Kasatkina claiming boys and girls singles titles at Roland Garros.

Rublev, the No. 4 seed, was coming off a $15,000 Futures title in Moscow a week ago and he continued his excellent form today, defeating No. 7 seed Juame Munar Clar of Spain 6-2, 7-5 in the boys final.  Rublev won three of his early matches in third sets, but beat No. 2 seed Orlando Luz of Brazil in two in the semifinals and avenged an April defeat to Munar Clar without too much difficulty in the final. According to this article by Sandy Harwitt on the ITF Junior site, Rublev will take over the No. 1 position in the world junior rankings.

No. 8 seed Kasatkina, who has said repeatedly that this is her last junior tournament despite turning 17 just last month, downed top seed Ivana Jorovic of Serbia 6-7(5), 6-2, 6-3.  She had a 4-0 lead in the third set, but had to save a break point serving at 5-3 to close out Jorovic.
Although there have been four Russian finalists since then, Kasatkina is the first girls winner at Roland Garros since Nadia Petrova in 1998.

(left to right: Bellis, Vondrousova, Rosca, Ducu)

No. 7 seeds CiCi Bellis and Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic fell just short in the girls doubles final, with unseeded Ioana Ducu and Ioana Rosca of Romania edging them 6-1, 5-7, 11-9.  Bellis and Vondrousova led 7-5 and 8-6 in the match tiebreaker, but couldn't maintain that lead, with the more experienced pair, both born in 1996, capturing the title over the 15-year-old Bellis and 14-year-old Vondrousova.

The French team of Benjamin Bonzi(left) and Quentin Halys won the boys doubles title, defeating Lucas Miedler of Austria and Akira Santillan of Australia 6-3, 6-3. Neither team was seeded.

In the final of the $10,000 Futures in Turkey today, 17-year-old Jared Donaldson won his first title, defeating top seed Nikola Milojevic of Serbia 6-3, 6-4. Donaldson didn't face a break point in the match and had eight aces (on clay), so coach Taylor Dent's efforts to make the Donaldson serve a weapon appear to be bearing fruit.

Nik Scholtz of Ole Miss won his second Futures title, beating former Rebel Tucker Vorster, also of South Africa, 6-4, 6-3 in the final of the $10,000 tournament in South Africa. The 23-year-old Scholtz, who appears to be undecided about returning to Oxford for his final year of eligibility, previously won a Futures in South Africa in 2012.  He and Vorster won the doubles title on Friday.

Henrique Cunha of Brazil, who completed his eligibility at Duke last year, won his third Futures title in singles (the first was way back in 2008) today in at $10,000 tournament in Thailand. Cunha, the No. 3 seed, defeated wild card Phassawit Burapharitta of Thailand 6-0, 6-0 in the final. Already at a career-high of 456 in the ATP rankings, Cunha will improve on that when these points are added in two weeks' time.