Jamie Hunt and Nate Schnugg Meet Jarmere Jenkins and Austin Krajicek in All-American Doubles Final; Pavlyuchenkova Aims for Doubles Grand Slam Sunday
©Colette Lewis 2006
No matter which team wins on Sunday, the United States will have its third consecutive U.S. Open Junior Doubles champions, when Jamie Hunt and Nate Schnugg face Jarmere Jenkins and Austin Krajicek in the first-ever All-American boys doubles final.
Unseeded, Hunt and Schnugg, who were finalists in the 18s in Kalamazoo last month, defeated the unseeded Italian team of Daniel Lopez and Matteo Trevisan 6-2, 6-4, 6-2, giving Schnugg his third trip to a Junior Grand Slam final this year. Playing with Kellen Damico, Schnugg reached the final in Australia and won Wimbledon; together they won the Grade A Banana Bowl and that experience showed Saturday afternoon.
"I didn't feel nervous this match," said Hunt. "We were just kind of swinging away," Schnugg said."We came out and played, played well and we took it."
Volleying with confidence, and returning particularly well on Trevisan's serve, Hunt and Schnugg never seemed anything but composed throughout the match, even when the Italians broke Hunt early in the second set and made it stand up. When Trevisan served for the first time in the third set at 15-30 Hunt dug a sure Lopez volley winner out and got it back over the net to prolong a point they eventually won, setting up two break points. When they converted on the second, the current (Hunt) and future (Schnugg) Georgia Bulldogs had the break they needed to set up a meeting with Jenkins and Krajicek.
"I'm glad they made it," said Schnugg of the finalists in 16s in Kalamazoo last month. "I'm really glad they made it." "We can't take them lightly," Hunt said. "They're playing some great tennis."
In their previous three victories, Jenkins and Krajicek had won in third set tiebreaks, but the unseeded pair were really clicking on Saturday afternoon, taking out the 8th seeded team of Ruben Bemelmans of Belgium and Jaak Poldma of Estonia 6-3, 7-5.
Jenkins and Krajicek, who were a wild card entry, quickly established their dominance, rolling to a 5-1 lead before closing out the first set. Trailing 5-3 in the second, they immediately got the break back and when Krajicek held for 5-5, Bemelmans was under the gun. When he was broken at love, Jenkins took his opportunity to serve it out and avoid the customary third set tiebreak ending.
"After we won the first one, Austin said 'let's try to win every match six in the third'" Jenkins said. "Then we had a couple more and we decided maybe that was too extreme, so we brought it today and made it a little bit shorter match," Krajicek said.
Asked about the possibility of playing the older American team (Krajicek is 16, Jenkins is 15), the younger boys were confident.
"Our coach (Mark Merklein) was telling us from the start that we could do it, so it was no surprise to us," said Jenkins. "We know when we play well we're just as good as anybody," Krajicek echoed. "We'll bring our game, do what we do, shake and bake, and we'll take you on."
In 2005 Donald Young and Alex Clayton won the US Open boys doubles title, and in 2004 Brendan Evans and Scott Oudsema claimed the championship.
In the girls doubles championships, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova will try for her fourth junior Grand Slam doubles title on Sunday, when the young Russian and her partner, Canadian Sharon Fichman, the top seeds, meet the second seeded team of Mihaela Buzarnescu and Raluca Olaru of Romania in the girls doubles final.
Fichman and Pavlyuchenkova won the Australian and the French, while at Wimbledon Pavlyuchenkova teamed with Alisa Kleybanova of Russia to capture that title. In Saturday's semifinals, Pavlyuchenkova and Fichman defeated the Czech team of Katerina Kramperova and Katerina Vankova 7-6 (3), 7-5. Buzarnescu and Olaru had an easy 6-1, 6-2 win over the unseeded Austrian team of Melanie Klaffner and Tamira Paszek.
Asked about the doubles Grand Slam, Pavlyuchenkova said, "I don't want to put pressure on me. It's the fourth Grand Slam so I don't want to put pressure on because it's difficult to play like this. If you think about this, you'll never do this."