Czech Republic and Switzerland win U14 Summer Cup crowns

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Czech Republic and Switzerland win U14 Summer Cup crowns

Back in the mid-70s, the Junior Committee of the newly-formed Tennis Europe arranged new team competitions in the U14, U16 and U18 categories, offering chances for the players in each of those age groups to battle for their nations in the European Summer Cups.

The European Summer Cups 14 & Under had kicked off in 1979 and 1981 and they serve as the official European Qualifying Event of the World Junior Tennis, the most prominent tournament at this age group in the world. The boys' event had kicked off in 1979 in Barcelona before moving to other cities in Spain since 1985, settling in Murcia in 2013.

Some of the greatest European tennis nations and players have all won this title, including Rafael Nadal for Spain and Novak Djokovic for Serbia, with France beating Spain 2-0 in the final a year ago. Sixty-four teams have started the 2019 campaign and the trophies travel to the Czech Republic in boys' (the second after 2003) and Switzerland (the first title) in girls' sections.

In the boys' group, France and the Czech Republic were the last teams standing and the Czechs managed to topple the defending champions 2-1 and steal the crown after a great fight. Antoine Ghibaudo put France in front following a 4-6, 6-1, 6-1 win over Lukas Velik, dominating in sets two and three to put his country on the verge of the title defense.

The Czechs were not to be denied, though, as Vojtech Petr took down Gabriel Debru 6-1, 6-1 to set the deciding doubles encounter. There, Jakub Mensik and Vojtech Petr ousted Gabriel Debru and Antoine Ghibaudo 6-0, 7-5 to lift the title for the Czech Republic, the first in 16 years.

The final rounds of the girls' event took place in San Remo and Switzerland went all the way for the first time, beating Italy and Greece to set the final clash with the Czech rivals whom they defeated in the qualifying round a few days ago.

Nikola Bartunkova delivered the first point for the Czech Republic in a 3-6, 6-4, 7-5 triumph over Karolina Kozalova before the Swiss squad bounced back, with Celine Naef ousting Kristyna Tomajkova 7-5, 6-4 to keep her country alive.

In the decider, Celine Naef and Karolina Kozakova prevailed against Nikola Bartunkova and Brenda Fruhvirtova 6-4, 6-4 to earn the big trophy, the first of this kind for Switzerland.