Joel wins first Tennis Europe Singles title in Dublin!

Joel Pierleoni, 13, won his first Tennis Europe singles title today with victory in the U14 boys singles in Dublin. Joel carried on his great form from last week where he won his first ever title in the boys doubles and came runner-up in the singles.

After a big week last week where Joel played 10 matches over a 6 day period culminating with singles and doubles finals on Friday, there wasn’t much time for rest and he was back into the qualifying draw for the second event on the Sunday. Joel was drawn against an Irish boy. There is a large contingent of home players at the event and this was his 5th match up against a local. Joel eased his way into the main draw with a 6-2, 6-1 victory before he would meet his 6th Irish opponent in the fortnight in the 1st round, which once again finished in a win for Joel.

Next up would be the 3rd seed from France. This would be the first test of week 2. Joel came out firing from the first ball, playing some strong and aggressive tennis to win the first set 6-3. With a change of tactics from his opponent in the second the match became a bit closer, however Joel was able to get the job done 6-4. The 7th Irishman was next and he proved to be the toughest so far, playing some inspired tennis to take the first set 6-4. Joel was able to capitalise on some unforced errors and possible nervousness from his opponent early in the second and turned the momentum around to even the contest 6-2. There was no looking back from this point as he won the 3rd to the same score line, 6-2. His semi-final opponent would be the top seed from Poland, Marcel Politowicz, who is ranked 58 in Europe. Joel served great throughout the match which underpinned his performance and he claimed his biggest win to date 6-3, 7-5.

So a second final in Dublin for Joel in successive weeks and it would be his 8th and definitely final Irish opponent of the trip. The opponent would be Connor Gannon, who Joel beat in the semi-final last week. Joel would go into this final arguably as the favourite but weary of the wounded animal! Gannon had a fast start and run into an early lead. A strategy change from last week saw him being much more aggressive and controlling the points. This put Joel on the back foot struggling to dictate. The first set went to Gannon 6-3. Joel had to turn the momentum and fast. He came out of the blocks quickly in the second, dominating it from start to finish, 6-1. In a repeat of the final last week, it would be another one set shoot out for the title. Joel carried his momentum to a 3-0 double break lead in the third, but nerves started to kick in and the score went back to 3-2. Joel’s serve again made the big difference and he held his way to the title with a 6-4 win.

“I’m really happy to win this one. It was my third final at Tennis Europe level and I was very keen to win it. I played really well from the start of the second set, apart for a slight choke in the third! I’ve really enjoyed these past 2 weeks, it always nice when your win matches and hopefully I can build on these results for the rest of the summer.” said Joel.

Next up for Joel will be the U14 UK Nationals in Nottingham, which will start on the 15th of August before two more Tennis Europe events in Spain. Congratulations Joel and good luck for the rest for the summer!

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