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Saturday, January 27, 2007

Unseeded Klein Wins One for The Home Team

Australians didn't have much to cheer about in Melbourne during the second week, but they can claim at least one champion--Brydan Klein, who defeated No. 2 seed Jonathan Eysseric of France 6-2, 4-6, 6-1 in Saturday night's boys final.

Klein, who just turned 17 last month, played lots of junior events in Europe last summer, but did not travel to New York for the U.S. Open junior championships in September; instead he stayed in Australia and concentrated on Futures events. Such was his success that he got his ranking inside the ATP Top 1000, and despite being unseeded, he was far from unknown in the Australian tennis community.

Klein's win over Eysseric had to be especially satisfying, as the 16-year-old from France had beaten him in straight sets in the quarterfinals of the Grade 1 Nottinghill tournament last week. And it is widely agreed that he will be invited to join the Australian Davis Cup team for its tie next month in Belgium. It was an honor conferred on Nick Lindahl last year, after he reached the boys' final, and according to this account, Klein was considered last year, but his temper cost him that opportunity.

There was also some junior tennis history made in the boys' final, one I hadn't thought of when I briefly mentioned last night that the match would be played in Rod Laver Arena. It was the first junior match to use Hawk-eye, and apparently Klein used it to advantage--twice. That tidbit comes from this match account at The Age. There is very little available about the girls final, since there was no Australian in it, and the above story mentions Pavlyuchenkova having match points in the opening set, so maybe it's just as well there wasn't more detail. I urge you to read Andrew D's comment on the girls' final below.

The ITF covers both matches, of course and has over a hundred photos from last week's play available for viewing.

For a local take on Madison Brengle's charge to the final, and her parents trying to follow it from Delaware, click here.