Although I obviously didn't see a single point of the Australian Open Junior Girls Championship match, I can say that it was much more exciting than the Serena Williams demolition of Maria Sharapova I just watched on TV.
Pavlyuchenkova defeated Madison Brengle 7-6 (6), 7-6 (3) to win her second straight Australian Open and her second consecutive Junior Slam; she won the U.S. Open Junior title last September.
As I watched the scores change on my computer, I could tell that Brengle let a lot of opportunities slip away, but of course I have no idea if Pavlyuchenkova raised her level to contribute to that. Neither could rely on holding serve, so it was no surprise when Brengle had set points in the first set when Pavlyuchenkova was serving at 4-5 and then again in the tiebreak at 6-5. In the second set Brengle took a 3-1 lead, lost the next four games, but somehow managed to stave off defeat when Pavlyuchenkova was serving at 5-3, 40-0. Brengle saved four match points in that game, and when the 16-year-old from Delaware held and broke, she was serving for the second set. But Brengle got no closer than 30-30 in that 6-5 game and in the deciding tiebreak, the 15-year-old Russian didn't repeat her mistake of letting Brengle back in the match, taking 3-0 and 6-3 leads and finishing on her first opportunity.
Brengle was the first U.S. girl to reach the finals of the Australian Junior Championships since Lindsay Davenport in 1992, and it might offer her a little comfort to know that Davenport also lost. And not to a junior with six grand slam titles either (Pavlyuchenkova has won three in doubles too). It was Joanne Limmer of Australia, whose highest ranking on the pro tour was 141, who beat the three-time Grand Slam champion 15 years ago.
The boys' final between unseeded Australian Brydan Klein and No. 2 seed Jonathan Eysseric of France is scheduled to take place after the men's double final and in Rod Laver Arena, a new twist this year. So I won't be updating that result until Saturday.
Friday, January 26, 2007