Teenage trio make Greek tennis history
After winning bronze at the U14 European Summer Cup, Michaela Laki, Nikoleta Paretzoglou, and Athina Pitta became the first Greek tennis team of any age group or gender to ever win a medal at the European Championships.
The Greek team first had to take part in the Zone D qualifying competition, which took place from June 30-July 2 in Rivne, Ukraine. The Greek girls then beat Belarus, Great Britain, and top-seeded Ukraine in succession to qualify for the final rounds, which took place from July 5-7 in San Remo, Italy.
There, the girls continued their winning ways, as they defeated Slovakia 2-1 to reach the semifinals. They would then take on Switzerland for a spot in the final. In the first singles match, Switzerland’s Karolina Kozakova edged Greece’s Athina Pitta in two tight sets, 6-3 7-5, to give the Swiss a 1-0 lead. Greece’s Michaela Laki then defeated Switzerland’s Celine Naef 6-1 6-7 6-3 to level the score at 1-1, meaning that the doubles match would decide the winner. There, the Greek pair of Laki and Pitta came up just short, as the Swiss pair of Kozakova and Naef came out on top by a score of 6-3 5-7 10-8 to advance to the final, where they went on to beat the Czech Republic.
Greece played for third place against Ukraine, winning it 2-1 and beating the Ukrainians for the second time in six days. With this historic third place finish, Greece has now also qualified for the ITF World Junior Tennis Finals, which will take place next month in the Czech Republic. It is expected that Greece will field the same team for that event, with Laki and Pitta being amongst the highest-ranked U14 players in the world at the moment.