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Sunday, July 8, 2007

Third Set Tiebreakers Decide Wimbledon Junior Doubles

©Colette Lewis 2007--

Although the rain that plagued the 2007 Wimbledon Championships was nowhere to be found on the last three days of the junior event, its effects were still much in evidence. Wimbledon, with its tradition of playing out the final set, even in doubles, was forced to a radical change, and the doubles finals were decided by the expedient ten-point tiebreaker in lieu of the third set.

For the singles and doubles champion Urszula Radwanska of Poland, who had played nine matches in the past three days, it was a relief.

"I was very happy that it was a super tiebreak," said Radwanska, who needed three sets to subdue Madison Brengle in the singles final and then played both the semifinals and finals of the doubles after that. "I didn't want a third set, because I was very, very tired, so it was good for me."

Russian Anastasia Pavylyuchenkova, the defending girls doubles champion at Wimbledon, and Radwanska had their hands full with the unseeded Japanese team of Misaki Doi and Kurumi Nara, but the No. 1 seeds prevailed 6-4, 2-6, 1-0 (7) in the evening final.

"It's quite difficult," said Pavlyuchenkova, who lost in singles to Radwanska in the quarterfinals. "You get nervous a little bit because it's only ten points, but I was happy, because I know she's tired. I tried to help her to not play so much, because I knew she was tired."

The boys doubles final didn't require one partner carry the champion, because Donald Young, who had won the singles championship earlier, did not make it that far. He and partner Johnny Hamui succumbed to eventual champions Daniel Lopez and Matteo Trevisan of Italy 6-3, 2-6, 1-0 (4) in the semifinals.

The first set featured just one break, with Young dropping serve in the second game, but the unseeded Americans, seeking a fourth consecutive Wimbledon boys doubles title for the U.S., rolled through the second, and momentum seemed to be on their side. But it didn't carry over to the tiebreaker.

"Trevisan hit three good shots, they hit the tape a couple of times and suddenly they were 5-0 up, in two seconds," said Hamui of the tiebreaker's start.

"I really wanted to win the doubles," said Young, the 2005 US Open junior doubles champion. "The first set they came out firing away. I didn't think they could play that well, to be honest. I'd never seen them play that well before, but obviously they must be pretty good players."

Trevisan and Lopez engaged in an even closer match in the finals against the unseeded team of Roman Jebavy of the Czech Republic and Martin Klizan of Slovakia, taking it 7-6 (5), 4-6, 1-0 (8). The last Italian boy to raise the boys doubles trophy was Daniele Bracciali, who won it with Canadian Jocelyn Robichaud in 1996.

Radwanska equaled her countrywoman Aleksandra Olsza's 1995 feat of winning both singles and doubles championships in the Junior Championships. Olsza teamed with Zimbabwe's Cara Black (the 2007 women's doubles champion at Wimbledon) that year for the doubles title and defeated Tamarine Tanasugarn in the singles final.