On the final day of the under-18 Copa del Café tennis tournament last Saturday, 16-year old Belgian sensation An-Sophie Mestach stole the show. Mestach won two titles that day, beating Mónica Puig of Puerto Rico 7-6, 6-3 to win the singles title and then pairing with Demi Schurrs of the Netherlands to take the doubles title later in the evening.
Mestach entered the tournament as the sixth-seeded player in the singles competition and was seeded fifth in the doubles pairings.
On the boys side, the Canadian duo of Nikolai Haessig and Edward Nguyen overcame Renzo Olivo of Argentina and Sebastian Stiefelmeyer of Austria 7-5, 6-3 to win the doubles competition. In five matches, the unseeded team of Haessig and Nguyen beat the No. 1, 2, 3 and 5 seeded teams to win the title.
In the singles competition, Olivo bounced back from his earlier doubles defeat and held off Venezuelan Ricardo Rodríguez 7-5, 7-6 to win the individual title. Olivo was the 43rd ranked youth player in the world entering the tournament.
Saturday’s finals concluded the 46th edition of the Copa del Café, which welcomes the world’s best tennis stars to Costa Rica each year. The tournament, at the Costa Rica Country Club in Escazú, west of San José, featured 128 male and female players from a tournament-record 49 countries.
Players who compete in the Copa del Café often go on to make their marks on the professional tennis circuit.
The tournament touts an impressive list of alumni, including tennis greats such as Bjorn Borg, Ivan Lendl, 2009 U.S. Open winner Juan Martín del Potro and current tennis king Roger Federer. On the women’s side, stars such as Amanda Coetzer and Jana Novotna competed in the Copa del Café.
Perhaps some of the young rising stars competing this week, such as Mestach and Olivo, will experience similar successes in the professional ranks in years to come.