Francis Tiafoe poses with his trophy after winning the boys' singles title at Les Petits As in 2012.
A week after capturing the boys’ singles title at the AEGON Junior International in Bolton, England, Francis Tiafoe, a 14-year-old from College Park, Md., beat William Blumberg, a 13-year-old from Greenwich, Conn., 6-0, 6-2, in an All-American boys’ singles final at Les Petits As in Tarbes, France, the second of two premier international junior tournaments for players ages 14 and under held in Europe in January.
Tiafoe, who trains at the Junior Tennis Champions Center, a USTA Certified Regional Training Center in College Park, Md., becomes the second American in as many years to win the prestigious title, after Henrik Wiersholm of Kirkland, Wash., won the boys’ title in 2011.
American Alicia Black, a 13-year-old who trains full-time at the USTA Training Center Headquarters in Boca Raton, Fla., reached the girls’ singles final, where she lost to Jacqueline Cristian of Romania, 6-2, 6-3. Black also reached the girls’ singles final at the AEGON Junior International last week.
Tiafoe, the No. 4 seed who reached the semifinals at this event in 2011, dropped just one set en route to the title and advanced to the final after defeating fellow American Nathan Ponwith of Scottsdale, Ariz., 2-6, 6-2, 6-4, in Thursday’s semifinal. Blumberg was the No. 15 seed in the tournament and advanced to the final after beating fellow American Michael Mmoh of Bradenton, Fla., 6-4, 3-6, 7-5, in the semifinals.
The all-American semifinals marked the first time in the tournament’s 30-year history that all four semifinalists have hailed from one country, and Tiafoe and Blumberg became just the second pair of countrymen to reach the final, joining Donald Young and Leo Rosenberg, who reached the final in 2003.
Les Petits As also featured All-American boys’ and girls’ doubles finals. Tiafoe and Mmoh beat Blumberg and Ponwith, 6-2, 6-1, to win the boys’ title, while Black and partner Nicole Frenkel of Winchester, Mass., recorded a 6-1, 6-2 victory over Emma Higuchi of Los Angeles and Racquel Pedraza of Claremont, Calif., to win the girls’ title.
Past Les Petits As champions include Rafael Nadal, Michael Chang, Kim Clijsters, Martina Hingis, Richard Gasquet, Dinara Safina, Juan-Carlos Ferrero, Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Donald Young.