Italy’s Gianluigi Quinzi and Russian Vavara Flink are the new singles champions at the 30th Copa Gerdau in Brazil after they came through contrasting finals on a thrilling last day in Porto Alegre.
Quinzi took an hour and 30 minutes to overcome USA’s Stefan Kozlov 64 63 in the boys' singles final of the Grade A clay-court event and earn himself the second Grade A singles title of his ITF Juniors career. Flink had to battle hard against a determined opponent and the home crowd to outlast Brazilian Beatriz Haddad Maia 16 62 61 in two hours and ten minutes.
Quinzi, who also won last year’s Grade A event the 53 Trofeo Bonfiglio in Milan, said he used experience earned in ITF Juniors and ITF Pro Circuit events in the final against 15-year-old Kozlov. “This is one of the best tournaments in the world to play, I wanted it so much,” Quinzi told local reporters, through translation, after the match. “I had the pressure of being top seed and an expectation for me to show that, but that’s a part that you have to deal with.
“In the first set, he had chances and I had to increase my intensity. I felt more comfortable in the second set and I played aggressively in the second set, which made things harder for him and helped me open an advantage.”
The 30th Copa Gerdau trophy marked a first Grade A singles title for 16-year-old Flink, who is ranked 20th on the ITF Junior rankings and is coached by Larri Passos, the former mentor of Brazilian tennis legend Gustavo Kuerten. “This is the most important title of my life" said Flink afterwards (via translation).
Flink’s win capped a spectacular run of form during the first three months of the season, which began with victories at Copa Del Cafe and Copa Barranquilla Grade 1 tournaments in January (the latter after coming through qualifying) and a runner-up spot at the ITF ATP Guayas Grade 2 in the same month. This, however, ranks as the most prestigious title of her junior career so far.
"I started the match nervously and I was a bit up and down, I think because of the crowd,” she admitted. “I felt a bit uncomfortable at first but I was pleased that I could turn it around. After the first set I was able to settle and play my game.”
The next Grade A event on the ITF Junior Circuit will be the Italian Open, also known as the 54 Trofeo Bonfiglio, which will be held in Milan and starts on 20th May. It also serves as a taster event for Junior Roland Garros, starting 2nd June.