Samaii Junior Open Champions Crowned

Leo Borg, Jakub Mensik, Petra Marcinko and Clervie Ngounoue (photo: Peter Heeger)

CAPE TOWN, October 31, 2021 (Tennis South Africa Press Release)

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 Czechoslovakian Jakub Mensik 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 Czechoslovakian.

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 was 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 United States 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.