Mark Ceban becomes second Brit to lift prestigious Les Petit As singles title
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13-year-old Mark Ceban lifted the prestigious Les Petit As singles title on Sunday, becoming the first British player to be crowned champion since Matt Smith in 1998.
Taking place in Tarbes, France, Les Petit As is a world renowned junior tennis tournament for players under the age of 14. The event boasts a roll of honour that includes many former world No.1s and Grand Slam champions, such as Rafael Nadal, Martina Hingis and Kim Clijsters to name but a few.
Third seeded Ceban is one of only seven British players to have reached the final – including Andy Murray, Laura Robson and Liam Broady – where he stormed to a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Daniel Jade of Lebanon.
“It was a really strong end to the week for Mark”, said LTA National Coach, Richard Plews, who had been supporting Ceban out in France.
“We’ve been together for the last three weeks, starting at the LTA boy’s national camp at the National Tennis Centre and at our tie against the USA, where he won all three of his singles rubbers. He then went on to play an event Bolton and won the title there, before heading out to France, which has been a completely different challenge.”
Ceban is scholar on our National Age Group Programme and has recently started working with Joe Salisbury’s long-time coach, Justin Sherring.
After a strong end to the week, Plews commented, “He had a tough quarter-finals and semi-finals, but his singles final went perfectly to plan and he got exactly the type of match he was expecting up against his doubles partner.
“Mark imposed himself on the match really well – served well, returned well and got the basics right when he needed to. His opponent, while Lebanese, will actually play for France this year, so he had the crowd right behind him but Mark just looked really comfortable and managed himself well.”
The young Brit opened his account with back-to-back straight sets wins in the first two rounds, before battling past Itamar Verthaimer 6-4, 6-7, 6-4 to reach the quarter-finals.
Ceban secured a comfortable 6-3, 6-3 win over Czech Republic’s Jakub Kusy to make the semis, where he produced an incredible 1-6, 6-1, 7-5 comeback victory against Turkey’s Kaan Isik Koaner to book his place in the final.
Johns shines in Junior Masters
There was also British success in the Junior Masters wheelchair event taking place in Tarbes, with Joshua Johns finishing as boy’s doubles champion and singles runner-up.
Johns and Austria’s Maximillian Taucher put in a dominant display to secure the Junior Masters doubles title – defeating Gonzalo Lazarte and Benjamin Wenzel 6-0, 6-1 in the final.
The British star then faced Taucher in the final of the singes, but just lost out 7-5, 7-5.