San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Young Talent Takes to the Court at Copa del Café Tennis Tournament


IN a fast-paced match that kept the crowd attentive and bundled up against unseasonably chilly winds, Holland’s Thiemo de Bakker, 17, defeated Romanian Petre Luncanu, 16, to win the Men’s Singles category of the Copa del Café, one of the most competitive international tournaments for players 18 and under.


This is Costa Rica’s 42nd Copa del Café, making it the country’s oldest tournament, according to organizing committee member Julio Castilla.


Held at the Costa Rica Country Club in the western San José suburb of Escazú last Monday through Saturday, this year’s tournament attracted young tennis players from 39 countries. The players were seeking to win points and improve their ranking in the International Tennis Federation (ITF).


The finals match between de Bakker and Luncanu was one of several noteworthy competitions throughout the six days. Speed and aggression were consistently displayed by both players, making for many lead changes until de Bakker’s powerful plays ultimately broke down Luncanu’s defenses. De Bakker won the first and third sets 6-3 and 6-2, respectively, and lost the second, 2-6.


“Overall, it started easy and got really tough toward the end, when I played against some hard players,” de Bakker told The Tico Times.


IN the Women’s Singles category, Romanian Mihaela Buzarnescu, 17, defeated U.S. player Andrea Remynse, also 17, 6-2, 6-2, to become champion. Though she lost in the final match, Remynse’s performance was notable in that she wasn’t expected to make it to the finals.


Dutch team Marrit Boonstra, 17, and Renee Reinhard, 15, won a close match against the mixed-nationality team of U.S. player Julia Cohen, 16, and Dutch Bibiane Schoofs, 17, with scores of 4-6, 6-1, 5-7, in Women’s Doubles.


And in Men’s Doubles, Andrei Martin and Martin Klizan from Slovakia, both 16, triumphed over Czech Michal Konecny, 16, and partner Alejandro Moreno, 17, from Mexico, 7-5, 6-1.


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