Laki crowned European champion
Greek tennis player Michaela Laki made history by winning the European U14 Junior Championships in the Czech Republic, and joined the likes of Steffi Graf, Justine Henin, Martina Hingis, and Monica Seles as winners of the event.
Laki, who came into the event seeded tenth, received a first round bye. In the second round, the youngster from Larissa defeated Slovenia’s Ana Lanisek 7-6 6-0. Laki then went on to beat Federica Urgesi of Italy, 6-2 6-1 in the third round, and seventh-seeded Karolina Kozakova of Switzerland, 6-0 6-2 in the fourth round, booking her place in the quarterfinals.
Laki then beat Brenda Fruhvirtova of the Czech Republic, 7-6 7-6 to make the semifinals. There, she faced another Czech in fifth-seeded Nikola Bartunkova. Laki was pushed to three sets, but ultimately won 5-7 6-1 6-4 to make the final. In the final, she proved too strong for Turkey’s Melisa Ercan, with the Greek winning 6-3 6-2.
History was made, as Laki became the first female Greek tennis player to be crowned European champion. On the men’s side, Stefanos Tsitsipas was European champion at the U18 level in 2016. In doubles, Angeliki Kanellopoulou and Denise Panagopoulou had been European champions in doubles at the U16 level back in 1980.
Laki also competed in the doubles event at the European Championships, reaching the quarterfinals with fellow Greek Nikoleta Paretzoglou, before falling to eventual champions Anastasiia Gureva and Elena Pridankina of Russia.