After India, Japan and China, it was Brazil’s turn to welcome the Roland-Garros trophies from 7 – 10 April and with them, the "Rendez-vous at Roland-Garros". This was the penultimate stage of this national event sponsored by Longines and open to players aged 18 and younger. The winners of the boys’ and girls’ sections will get to take part in the final tournament in Paris on 20 and 21 May, with a wildcard for the respective Roland-Garros junior singles draws up for grabs.
Rendez-vous à Roland-Garros: Brazilians looking to follow in Decamps’ footsteps
Marcelle Cirino and Lucas Koelle, who won the boys’ and girls’ sections played in São Paulo – and with reigning French Open men’s doubles champion Marcelo Melo there in support – will be looking to follow in the footsteps on their fellow countryman Gabriel Decamps, who won in Paris last year. That victory gave the young Brazilian’s career a real fillip, and he has since gone on to reach No.34 in the world junior rankings at the age of 16.
17-year-old Cirino won her event the hard way. Her best result on the ITF junior circuit to date had been a semi-final appearance in the Copa Guga Kuerten (Grade 4) in October 2015. The world junior No.338 found herself with her back to the wall in the semi-finals, but at 6-3, 5-2 down, she saved two match points on her opponent’s service, at 5-2 then at 5-4, and ended up rattling off 11 games in a row to reach the final, where she came through to book her ticket to Paris.
In the boys’ event, Koelle – who is also 17 years of age and No.61 in the world – had a far easier time of things, thrashing all-comers and seeing off Rafael Wagner 6-0, 6-2 in the final. Having won a Grade 4 event in Itajai in Brazil in October 2015 and made the semi-finals of a Grade 1 in Caracas, Venezuela (which Decamps incidentally won) this January, Koelle will be one of the favourites to emulate his Brazilian predecessor at the big play-off in Paris.