Jeremy Touil proved himself the best of the Team Elite boys in Barcelona last week, but it was only by the slimmest of margins.
Although the sixteen-year-old from France did not drop a set in his four victories leading up to the final, the scenario changed for Touil in the championship match, when Gueorgui Roumenov halted that streak by taking the first set 6-3. The fifteen-year-old Bulgarian, currently playing under the Spanish flag, is ranked third in the European Tennis Association’s 16-and-under division, having won three events this year.
When Touil evened the match, taking the second set 6-1, the two Team Elite players had set the stage for high drama at the Sanchez-Casal Academy. And drama they delivered, with the final set decided in a twenty-point tiebreak that earned Touil the Under 16 Boys crown.
Touil’s compatriot Scherazad Benamar took the girls title with a 6-0, 6-1 victory over Brazil’s Nathalia Rossi. The sixteen-year-old Rossi dropped the first set in both her quarterfinal and semifinal wins, but those efforts took their toll, and she was unable to mount a challenge in the final. Benamar, also 16, found her staunchest competition in the semifinals where she needed three sets to prevail over Carolina Matuszak of Germany.
In the boys consolation finals, Gilad Ben Zvi of Israel defeated Ante Bilic of Croatia. The girls consolation tournament winner was Diana Bukajeva of Latvia, who beat Irena Letseva of Cyprus.
INTERNATIONAL HEAD TEAM ELITE CUP
The International HEAD Team Elite Cup brings together over 100 young tennis players from more than 30 countries for a chance to meet and compete on the grounds of the world-renowned Sanchez-Casal Academy in Barcelona. This year, HEAD players Svetlana Kuznetsova and Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario provided an insider’s view of life as a top-ranked player and relayed valuable information to the young aspirants.
In addition to guidance and competition, the HEAD Team Elite Cup participants, who are selected via national qualifying, have an opportunity to make friends and enjoy additional sports activities with other teenagers who share their enthusiasm for HEAD.