11 Apr 2019

Winner earlier this year in Bahrain, a semi-finalist in Italy, once again Russia’s Lev Katsman reserved a place on the podium, as in the Gulf State it was the top step; on Thursday 11th April, he won the junior boys’ singles title at the 2019 French Junior and Cadet Open in Metz.

Furthermore, in an event littered with surprises, he justified his top seeded position; notably he secured the title without having to confront any of the eight players who had received a direct entry to the main draw.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

At the final hurdle he accounted for Nikhil Kumar of the United States (11-5, 16-14, 11-7, 11-8), after earlier in the day having overcome a potentially dangerous adversary in the guise of Japan’s Hayate Suzuki (11-6, 11-5, 7-11, 11-2, 3-11, 11-7), prior to ending French hopes.

In the quarter-final round he beat Thibault Baillet, encountering his closest examination of the day; he recovered from a two games to nil deficit to record seven games victory, eventually succeeding by the narrowest of margins (5-11, 9-11, 12-10, 5-11, 11-4, 11-4, 11-9). No world ranking the Frenchman had excelled expectations; a situation that to some extent applied to Vincent Picard, the semi-final victim.

Amin Ahmadian beaten by Vincent Picard in round three (Photo: Jean-Denis Beucher


Earlier in the third round, Vincent Picard had beaten Iran’s Amin Ahmadian, the no.4 seed (11-6, 11-8, 6-11, 13-11, 12-10), before recording a quarter-final success in opposition to Germany’s Kay Stumper, the no.5 seed (11-4, 11-9, 4-11, 11-9, 11-9). Against Lev Katsman, he threatened to cause yet another upset; he captured the opening two games before the champion elect performed a recovery (5-11, 11-13, 11-2, 11-8, 11-9, 11-5).

“The final was not so difficult because I prepared my tactics well for this match. I lost against him in groups recently in the World Junior Championship 3-1, so I changed my tactics. I played more softly and I also changed my services. I was quite confident before the match, I believed in my chances. I had two complicated matches in the quarter-finals and semi-finals against two good French players, I was behind and I came back but with difficulty. It was a very hard tournament for me so I’m really happy with this victory.” Lev Katsman

It was a most impressive performance by Nikhil Kumar (Jérôme Henry)


A series of impressive performances from Lev Katsman, in the opposite half of the draw, en route to the final, it was the same from Nikhil Kumar. On the second day of action, like Lev Katsman, he accounted for qualifiers. He beat Portugal’s Gonçalo Gomes (11-2, 11-7, 9-11, 11-7, 12-10), followed by success against Belgium’s Adrien Rassenfosse (11-6, 11-7, 10-12, 11-6, 9-11, 11-6) and Japan’s Hinosuke Shinozuka (11-7, 11-7, 11-9, 11-8).

Notably both Adrien Rassenfosse and Hinosuke Shinozuka were players in form. In the third round Adrien Rassefosse had beaten Russia’s Maksim Grebnev, the no.3 seed (11-8, 11-9, 11-7, 10-12, 11-7). Meanwhile, one round later, Hinosuke Shinozuka had accounted for Olav Kosolosky, like Adrien Rassenfosse from Belgium (11-5, 11-9, 3-11, 11-8, 11-6), the third round winner in opposition to Poland’s Samuel Kulczycki, the no.2 seed (11-13, 11-8, 10-12, 12-10, 7-11, 11-9, 11-3).

Samuel Kulczycki beaten by Olsav Kosolosky in round three (Jérôme Henry)


Success for Lev Katsman and there was further success; in addition to securing the junior boys’ singles title, he partnered Maksim Grebnev to junior boys’ doubles gold; at the final hurdle the duo accounted for Vincent Picard and colleague Lilian Bardet (9-11, 11-9, 6-11, 11-4, 11-7).

The individual events concluded, attention now turns to the team competitions.

World Junior Circuit 2019 French Junior & Cadet Open Lev Katsman

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