In what was a relatively quiet week on the tour, just the one Category 1 tournament – the 16 & Under XV Memorial Nacho Juncosa – took place in Barcelona. Spanish qualifier Pablo Llamas Ruiz waltzed away with a win on home soil, while the girls’ trophy was won by France’s Carole Monnet.
The advantage of playing at home can never be underestimated. As so often before has proven to be the case, playing in your own backyard certainly assisted Llamas Ruiz in the Catalan capital. He easily brushed aside his unseeded compatriot Jorge Plans 6-2 6-2 in the final.
In the semi-finals Llamas took out another unseeded player in the form of Aristotelis Thanos from Greece, who had come off an upset win over the number two seeded Matas Vasiliauskas. Although the Lithuanian was sent home in the quarterfinals, he remains firmly perched at number two in the Race, with his spot at the Tennis Europe Junior Masters looking secure.
Plans, for his part, defeated the number seven seed Jan Wajdemajer in the semi-finals. The Pole had earlier defeated top seeded Anthony Genov in the quarterfinals, which means that the Bulgarian lingers on the brink of qualification for the Masters, having not been able to secure more points here.
No such drama in the girls’ draw, as top seed Carole Monnet sprinted through the draw, winning all her matches in straight sets. That form continued through to the final, where she was made to work hard for her 6-4 -7-5 win over number two seeded Hungarian Zita Kovacs. In the semi-finals, Monnet had defeated Kovaks’ compatriot Dorka Drahota Szabo, while Czech Marketa Panackova was the other losing semi-finalist. All four girls are in contention for the Masters, with Kovaks still standing strong at number one in the race. Panackova and Drahota remain in the top 8, while Monnet’s win was crucial, and should see her rise a few positions from her current placing of #9. The victory also marked a second Category 1 singles title of the season for the French girl.
These four girls also combined to make their way to a truly enthralling doubles final between arguably the top four players at the event. Monnet & Panackova scraped home in a thrilling 10-8 championship tiebreak win over the Hungarian pairing. Meanwhile, in the boys’ doubles final, Thanos exacted a degree of revenge over Llamas, by teaming with Matvei Aleksandrov (RUS) to defeat Llamas and his partner Oriol Fillat Gimenez (ESP) 7-6(4) 6-3.
Also this week, the Category 3 16 & Under Mouratoglou Cup was held in Biot, France. In a field dominated by French players, qualifier Guillaume Dalmasso defeated his unseeded compatriot Vincent Thiel in a tough final, 6-4 1-6 6-3. After taking out the top seed in the quarterfinals, Ines Bekrar saw off Serbia’s Andjela Lopicic 6-2 6-2 in their one-sided tournament decider.
Bekrar also won the doubles title, having played with fellow French girl Astrid Cirotte, while another French pair, in the form of Andrimahefa Adrianaly Narinavalona and Batiste Klein, secured victory in the boys’ doubles.
For full results in all events and categories here and elsewhere from this past week, please click here, or to view the week's photo galleries, click here.