De la Puente and Lvova clinch wheelchair tennis junior masters titles

Both Martin de la Puente and Viktoriia Lvova beat their opponents in straight sets to clinch the title. 04 Feb 2015
Group of kids on a tennis court

The Cruyff Foundation Junior Masters took place in Tarbes, France, on Sunday (1 February 2015).


Spain’s Martin de la Puente and Russia’s Viktoriia Lvova improved on their runners-up positions in 2014 to be crowned Cruyff Foundation Junior Masters champions on Sunday (1 February) in Tarbes, France.

The world’s premier individual event for junior wheelchair tennis players takes place alongside the last four days of Les Petits As, the prestigious tournament for able-bodied players where Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray first met as 13-year-olds.

While Djokovic and Murray were on court in their Australian Open final in Melbourne, de la Puente, 15, exchanged breaks with Russia’s Artur Saitgareev at the start of the boys’ final in Tarbes as the two players shared the first four games. However, de la Puente, No. 2 in the boys’ singles world rankings, earned another all-important break in the ninth game and served out the opening set 6-4.

Three straight service breaks at the start of the second saw de la Puente take a slender 2-1 lead and he clinched the first hold of the set to open up a 3-1 lead, which he extended to 5-2. Saitgareev broke his opponent’s serve to stay in the match, but was then broken himself one last time as de la Puente sealed a 6-4 6-3 victory.

“I am very happy because I have been working a lot with my coach and my physical coach and now I see that all my hard work has paid off,” said de la Puente.

De la Puente’s victory thwarted a Russian double on the final day of competition after Lvova had clinched a straight sets win over Great Britain’s Luz Esperanza Merry in the girls’ final.

Lvova broke clear at 4-2 in the first set and the next three games went on serve as the world No. 1 took the set 6-3.

World No. 2 Merry suggested that she could force a decider as she took a 2-0 second set lead.

Merry, 14 years of age, also had points to maintain a two game cushion in a long fourth game, but Lvova eventually took it as part of a sequence of four straight games and another break saw the 16-year-old wrap up a 6-3 6-3 victory in 53 minutes.

"I am very happy that I won. It is very important as it is the first time Russia won the girls' singles," said Lvova. "And it is very important as Russia is not in a great situation at the minute and sport brings people and countries together."

While Lvova and Merry joined forces to win the girls doubles on the penultimate day of play, de la Puente also completed the tournament with both the boys’ singles and doubles titles. De la Puente paired up with Austria’s Nico Langmann to win the doubles.