Marcinko and Mensik lift David Samaai Junior Open titles at Newlands
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Cape Town – The third-seeded Croatian Petra Marcinko claimed the David Samaai Junior Open girls title after defeating the six-seeded American Clervie Ngounoue 6-3 6-3 in Saturday's final at the Kelvin Grove Sports Complex in Newlands, Cape Town.
Saturday's ITF Junior Grade A tournament marked the first time the 20th world-ranked Marcinko defeated the Ngounoue, who hovers just below the 50-mark at 48. They previously crossed paths earlier this year at the Roland Garros junior Grand Slam and later at a Junior Grade A tournament in Milan, Italy. Ngounoue was the victor on both occasions.
Marcinko bagged her maiden ITF Junior Grade A and said he was well prepared for the final.
"I was so focussed throughout the whole match. and did not have the big doubts that I sometimes have," said Marcinko afternoon. "I was keeping the rhythm all the time.
“I was ready for her because I played her twice before, so I knew what to expect."
The Zagreb-based Marcinko will next play a Junior Grade A event in Mexico, and then move on to Florida, USA, for the prestigious Junior Orange Bowl International Tennis Championship.
Ngounoue who is based in France at the multimillion-dollar Mouratoglou Tennis Academy said Marcinko dictated play from start to finish, and she was unable to change the course of the game.
"It was a really fast court out there today, even though I played on it the whole week. There was so much pressure coming from such a powerful player," said Ngounoue.
"Some of the errors I made today were forced errors, and others were half forced because I could not control the ball sometimes. It was hard to execute (my gameplan), although I handled the pressure pretty well earlier this week."
In the boys final, third-seeded Jakub Mensik from Czechia caused an upset by defeating top-seeded Swede Leo Borg 6-3 6-2, after he secured two breaks of serve on each set.
The 16-year-old Mensik, the world No 40 (ITF Under-18) raced ahead 5-1 in the opening set, after back-to-back breaks in the 4th and 6th games. The 18-year-old Borg (31) offered some resistance by breaking Mensik in the 7th. That turned out to be his last 'hurrah' in the set, which ended 6-3 for the Czechian.
Two more breaks of serve in the second set saw Mensik close out a 6-3 6-2 championship win to claim his first ITF Junior Grade A title.
"It was a tough match because he was playing so hard. My tactic was to eliminate errors and play clever," said Mensik after the match. "I made sure I was not pushing the ball because it the tactics my coach decided. It was hard but not so hard because I was playing at my best."
Mensik who has been taken up in the Czech Tennis Federation' junior national squad will return to the USA in a few weeks to play the Orange Bowl. Earlier this year he reached the main draw at the Junior US Open after playing the qualifying rounds.