The winners of the 58th edition of the Trofeo Bonfiglio are two giants.
Not only for their heights, but also for the way they have been having to act on court for an entire week here in Milan.
They now have won a junior trophy that is comparable only with the four major events of the junior Grand Slam. Australian Alexei Popyrin took an hour or so (64 minutes to be accurate) to defeat Serbian Marko Miladinovic. Russian Elena Rybakina took exactly and hour more to send down Polish Iga Swiatek. They are the two guys lifting the trophies in Milan and reaching the legacy of Stefanos Tsitsipas, who won last year at the Tennis Club Milano Alberto Bonacossa and then only 365 days later made his way to the Roland Garros main draw getting through the “qualies”.
But also the one of German Alexander Zverev, who only 4 years after winning the Trofeo Bonfiglio conquered his first ATP Masters 1000 title, in Rome, entering the ATP Rankings’ Top 10. Just by reading both finals’ match durations, it’s easy to understand that Girls Singles showdown was the most thrilling. Iga Swiatek seemed to have the match in her hand at least until the beginning of the third set. The Polish had conquered the first set in only 29 minutes, then lost the 2nd at the tie-break. But even when the Russian tied the game, she has never given the impression of having things under control.
But in the final set, while the board was showing a 2-all score, something changed: Rybakina looked more focused, more active, she was pushing it harder and grinding better than her opponent. She increased her first serve percentage and at the same time the numbers of her winners from the baseline. As it turned out, she had taken the lead and she would have not let it go anymore (1-6 7-6 6-3).
“I knew before the game that it would be tough – Rybakina said after being given the trophy -. My opponent was always very aggressive and I was a little bit tired because of the long matches I had to face throughout the week. But luckily enough I started to find my path and to feel much more relaxed”.
The Boys Singles final at the opposite was a one-man show.
Marko Miladinovic, born in 2000, did not manage to repeat the high-level performance he showed in the semifinals of the tournament (defeating Oliver Crawford of the USA) in front of the “Campo Centrale” and its crowded stands. No more backhand winners, no more heavy forehands, no more lethal first serves.
The spotlight was all for Australian Alexei Popyrin who showed great strokes, built on overwhelming serves and forehands from the baseline. He was here in Milan with her mom Elena, and won his first Grade A event title. He won the game winning the vast majority of the short points, those played and finished in the first couple of strokes. After the match point won (6-4 6-4), Popyrin celebrated by bringing his hands to the head and taking off his cap. That cap he wore for the whole week, facing tough matches and very good opponents: “The most difficult moment of the week? The 2nd round win over Argentinian Geller and the semifinals win over Russian Skatov”, Popyrin Said.
“In the final I always have been focused all match long. I’m so happy that I won here, but now there is a lot of work to do, a lot of goals to get. In the past, when Alexei was 11 and 12, he had the chance to train for an year in Bordighera, Italy, with top coach Riccardo Piatti. “Riccardo taught me lots of important things, technically and tactically. You know, one day we may work together again”.