The Czech Republic came within a whisker of repeating its historic double 12 & Under Winter Cups win of last year, as the girls’ team fell at the final hurdle shortly after the boys beat Russia to defend the boys’ title.
The boys could savour a home victory at the final rounds in Veska, but were made to work hard throughout the weekend. Quarter and semi-final opponents Switzerland and Romania each pushed the Czechs to a deciding doubles match in their ties, but there was no such pressure in the final against Russia.
In the opening match, Petr Vojtech held off a second set fightback from Maxim Zhukov to retain his unbeaten streak in the competition and give the hosts a 1/0 lead with a 6-3 7-5 victory. The Czech #1 Jakub Mensik may have felt some pressure going into his match, having lost on both previous days, but he recovered well after dropping the second set to Yaroslav Demin, eventually completing a 6-1 4-6 6-3 win that put the tie out of reach of the Russians.
The same two nations contested the girls’ final over in Sunderland in north-east England, where the Russians were in dominant mood. The squad re-claimed the title by brushing aside the defending champions with a decisive 3/0 score line and without conceding a set.
Yaroslava Bartashevich gave the Russians the early lead, accelerating away from Lucie Havlickova after a tight first set to win 7-5 6-1. Anastasiia Gureva then stepped in to secure the trophy, posting victory over Katrin Pavkova by the exact same score.
For good measure, the two singles winners then teamed up to beat Havlickova and Nikola Bartunkova in the dead doubles match, posting a 6-4 6-3 win.
The win represents Russia’s third girls’ title in the six editions of the 12 & Under competition so far, but first since winning back-to-back titles in 2012-2013.
Switzerland later beat Turkey 2/0 to secure the bronze medals, while France beat Romania 2/0 to claim the boys’ bronze medal position.
A total of 52 national teams took part in the 12 & under competition, which was staged at 9 different venues across the continent.
Both the Czech Republic and Russia will have a chance for further glory next weekend, with both nations joining France in qualifying for the final rounds of each of the remaining Tennis Europe Winter Cups by HEAD categories – boys’ and girls’ 14 and 16 & Under. Keep up with all the latest scores here.
Draws and Results
Boys finals - Draw | Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Photos
Girls finals - Draw | Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3
||12 & Under Boys
||12 & Under Girls