Joel takes doubles crown in Sweden and singles runner up!
Joel Pierleoni, last week competed in an event in Stockholm, Sweden, at the Kungens Kanna club, home of the ATP 250 event that is played each October in Stockholm. Joel won the doubles event and finished runner up in the singles, which has jumped his ranking up to number 13 in Europe.
Joel was part of the British national team squad for the category 1 U14 Tennis Europe event. Due to previous good performances on the circuit, Joel received a bye into the second round of the singles and his first 2 opponents would be local boys. He overcame both Swedes in straight sets. His first real test of the week came against another Swede, Michael Minasyan. After a ropey first set, that Joel would end up losing, his first set loss for the week, he regrouped and came back to win in 3 sets. This set up a semi-final against the Frenchman Max Westpaul, who had defeated the British number 1 Derrick Chen in the quarterfinals. It was cagey affair from start to finish with neither boy really being able to take control of the match. Joel did however get to a set and a break lead before Westapul came storming back to claim the second and take it to the decider. Joel started the 3rd set nervously but overcame these nerves to show true resilience and determination to close out the match 6-4. Joel would now go up against his doubles partner and another Brit, Jack Pinnington-Jones in the final.
Later on singles semi-final day, Joel and Jack would be on the same side and go up against Sweden’s Minasyan and Jacobi Bain from the Bahamas for the doubles title. Joel and Jack have already teamed up this season to win a category 1 event, at the teen tennis tournament in Bolton in mid January. Minasyan and Bain held their own early in the match getting the encounter to 5-5 with no breaks of serve. Jack and Joel then raised their level ever so slightly to get the crucial break before serving it out for a 7-5 score line. The second went very similarly, albeit there being a break a piece up to 4-4, where once again Joel and Jack raised their game to get the break and then hold to claim match and the title! Post match, Joel and Jack were interviewed about their doubles victory and also to preview their singles final. You can watch the interview below:
On to the singles final on Saturday, which was played on the centre court at the Kungens Kanna club, where players like Del Potro and Monfils have also played in the past. The boys were really treated like stars, as they had umpires, linesman, ball boys with the match being streamed live with commentary! The final turned into an epic 3 set battle. Jack claimed the first set in a tiebreak, 7-6, before Joel hit back to even the contest, 6-4. Jack found himself up an early break before Joel then broke twice to serve at 4-3. A nervy game followed and the match was even again. There seemed only one way to settle this match and that would be a 3rd set tiebreak for the title. Jack raised his energy level just enough to get himself ahead in the breaker. This gave him the breathing space to stay just in front of Joel and take the set and the match. Despite the result, Joel earned his best international result so far at a very big tournament on the tennis Europe calendar. “I really enjoyed the week and it was one of the best organised events I have ever been to. I surpassed my expectations of the week, however it would have still been nice to win this one. I’m now looking forward to the clay season and getting outside so I can build on this week”. said Joel
Next up for Joel will be a few weeks training on BETA’s new clay court in preparation for the next category 1 event in Portugal. Well done from the BETA team for a great week.