Sixteen-year-old Alina Korneeva pleasantly surprises Russian tennis fans this year. The daughter of volleyball player Alexander Korneev, winner of the men’s volleyball tournament at the Beijing Olympics, has won two junior Grand Slam tournaments this season: the Australian Open and Roland Garros. At the same time, the tennis player, whom enthusiastic fans have already dubbed mini-Sharapova, begins to take her first steps at an adult level. In March, she won the ITF tournament in Pretoria, South Africa, defeating in the final the former first racket in the world in doubles, the Hungarian Tima Babos, the most experienced. After her triumph in Paris, Korneeva inevitably had to face the question: is it worth chasing the calendar Grand Slam in juniors, or is it worth following in Mirra Andreeva’s footsteps and hastening her transition to adult competitions? ? As a result, life itself put everything in her place: Alina applied for the junior Wimbledon, but she could not resist in the semifinal duel with the Czech Nikola Bartunkova. The fact, of course, is not the most joyful, but, apparently, he, as they say, untied Korneeva’s hands. And after half a month, so far, the most important victory for her outside of the tennis competition of her level came.
Photo source: ITF
TREATY WITH BARANKI
Having reached the main draw of the ITF tournament in Portugal via qualification, Korneeva was confidently moving towards the final. Only the second seed, the British Harriet Dart, who finished last season in the top hundred of the WTA ranking, could create problems for her. But after pressuring an experienced opponent in a tiebreaker, Alina gained confidence and finished her additional fights in two games. And here it is – the main final, the first for Korneeva in tournaments with a prize fund of one hundred thousand dollars. Her opponent in the decisive match was a Frenchwoman with an unusual biography. Carole Monnet was born in a suburb of kyiv, from where her parents moved to France when her daughter was two years old. Monnet is five years older than Korneeva and has already made her main draw debut at the adult Grand Slam tournament. But in the match against Alina, she had no chance. The French in this final could not take a single game. Speaking in tennis parlance, Korneeva hung two bagels on her opponent. And in less than an hour she received the congratulations and the main trophy.
Photo source: ITF
IT’S JUST GETTING STARTED
If Alina progresses at such a rate, then in the very near future she will be able to directly enter not only the most prestigious ITF tournaments, but also reach the main draw of the highest-ranking competitions. An example of a partner and compatriot is before her eyes: Mirra Andreeva this week made her debut as the top seed at the WTA tournament in Lausanne and managed to make a lot of noise there, dropping only two games to the Ukrainian Dayana Yastremskaya in the opening match. . . The queue for Korneeva, and given her recent successes, her transition to a qualitatively different level for her should not be too serious a test.