Sponsored by IMG Academy

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Pavlyuchenkova Takes Third Straight Grand Slam Title; No Boys' Seeds Make the Weekend in Paris

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia, who will be 15 next month, teamed again with Canadian Sharon Fichman to win a girls' Grand Slam doubles championship at the French Open Junior Championships. Fichman and Pavlyuchenkova, the third seeds, won the Australian this year, and you might think that would get them top seeding at the next Grand Slam, but it doesn't work that way. The ITF simply adds the junior ranking of the two players together and the lowest number gets the top seed. This tournament it was Agnieszka Radwanska and Caroline Wozniacki who were tabbed No. 1, and they came close to winning it, falling in Saturday's final 6-7 (4), 6-2, 6-1.

The boys' doubles final featured two unseeded teams with Emiliano Massa of Argentina and Kei Nishikori of Japan defeating the Russian team of Artur Chernov and Valery Rudnev 2-6, 6-1, 6-2. Massa successfully defended his title in 2005, won with Leonardo Mayer of Argentina. Eleanor Preston has comments from the winners in her story for the ITF website. Still nothing from rolandgarros.com on the juniors.

Like the much-anticipated men's final, tomorrow's girls' championship is between No. 1 and No. 2, with Radwanska leading 2-1 in the head-to-head, although they haven't played in almost a year. Both girls have made huge strides since then and neither should be troubled by nerves. Radwanska has breezed through the draw, but hasn't played a single seed; Pavlyuchenkova has beaten two seeds, but had her toughest test against unseeded Tamira Paszek, coming back from a set down to win that match.

On the boys' side, we'll have our fifth straight unseeded Grand Slam singles winner. Starting with Marin Cilic at last year's French, Jeremy Chardy (Wimbledon), Ryan Sweeting (U.S. Open), Alexandre Sidorenko (Australian) all won without benefit of a seed, as will Sunday's winner, whether it's Philip Bester or Martin Klizan.

I've seen Bester play several times, and I'm very surprised that he's in the French final--his game seems much more suited to hard courts and grass. His broken wrist (I think that's what it was--he had a cast on it at last year's Eddie Herr) is obviously fully healed now and this result will send his ranking way up. He's entered at Wimbledon, (the acceptances can be seen here) and I assume he'll play the U.S. Open too.

I don't know anything about Martin Klizan; he hasn't played in the U.S. and wasn't in Australia, so I'm in the dark about his game. I'll make a point to check it out in New York, but if anyone has any info, please comment.