Tennis Europe Doubles Title for Joel in Ireland
Joel Pierleoni, 13, won his first Tennis Europe title today with victory in the U14 boys doubles event partnering Tomas Luis from Portugal. Joel also came runner-up in the U14 boys singles. These results will increase his ranking into the top 300 in Europe.
Joel travelled out to Ireland last weekend to start a 2 week Tennis Europe campaign in Dublin, in the qualifying event, as he had just missed out on a place in the main draw. He was given a bye in the first round before a qualifying round match against a local boy. Joel played solidly enough to take the match 6-2, 6-1. In the main draw, Joel was first up against another Irish boy who he comfortably dispatched 6-0, 6-1. The real test would be next as he was drawn against the 2nd seed from Portugal Eduardo Morais. Morais is a very tough young player and has been ranked as high as #40 in Europe. Joel produced a very polished performance to win the match 6-2, 6-2 and make his way to the quarters.
The doubles started on the same day as the second round singles matches, with Joel and Tomas claiming a first round win against an Irish pair. Again Joel would have to overcome the second seeds this time in the doubles as they went head to head against fellow Brit Jack Pinnington-Jones and his Estonian partner Mark Lajal in the second round. After a tough 3 setter, Joel and Tomas were through to the semi-finals, where they had a solid win against a couple of Portuguese boys. It was now the second straight Tennis Europe doubles final for Joel after reaching the same round in Holland earlier this month.
Meanwhile in the singles, Joel made his way past another 2 Irishmen in the quarters and semis to set up a final with the top seed from France Axel Garcian, ranked #70 in Europe. Joel made a great start to the match, playing some strong aggressive tennis. Although it went to the wire with Joel claiming it narrowly in a tiebreak 7-6. The second set was the momentum turner. The Frenchmen was able to lift his game and become very consistent. He was not giving Joel any free points, which forced Joel into pressing harder. After almost an hours play in the set, Garcian sneaked it out 6-4. This knocked the stuffing out of Joel and he was never able to regain his composure. The top seeded Frenchman ran away with it from this point to claim the title in 3 sets.
Joel had to quickly recover from his singles defeat to prepare for the doubles final, which followed shortly after. They were up against a hometown pair who have been playing some very solid doubles throughout the tournament. Joel and Tomas got away to a flying start and any concern of Joel possibly being upset after the singles lost was quickly diminished as they ran away with the first set 6-2. The second was a lot closer as the Irish team lifted their game and forced a tiebreak. However, the result was rarely in doubt as Joel and Tomas closed out the tiebreak 7 points to 3.
Joel has now competed in 3 straight Tennis Europe finals in either singles or doubles and finally got his first win at the 3rd time of asking. Joel has been improving consistently for some time and these results are a product of his tennis skills and the experience he is gaining every day on the Tennis Europe circuit. His ranking is on the incline and he will move into the top 300 in Europe on Monday with only 4 tournaments that are considered towards the ranking (most players will have upwards of 10 tournaments to count from)
Next up will be the second Tennis Europe event in Dublin, which starts on Saturday with the qualifying. Good luck Joel for another productive and successful week.