Cox Reaches Wimbledon Boys Final with 16-14 Third Set Win; Mladenovic and Lertcheewakarn Will Decide Girls Title on Saturday
The third set in the Wimbledon boys semifinal between Americans Devin Britton and Jordan Cox was such a classic that even ESPN and NBC, who regularly ignore the Junior Championships, gave it a few seconds of exposure on their coverage Friday. That's attention a 6-3, 6-7(5), 16-14 score will produce.
Cox was in control of the match from the beginning, breaking Britton in the second game of the first set and making that slim advantage stand up. There were no breaks in the second set, and in the tiebreaker that Britton had to win to extend the match, there were only three points that didn't go to the server. Britton won two of them, the key break coming with Cox serving at 4-5, and two points later, Britton had evened the match.
When Britton broke Cox in the opening game of the third set and consolidated the break for a 2-0 lead, he seemed to have the match in hand, but Cox broke back in the fourth game. After the score reached 3-3 in the final set, there was not a single break point for or against either player for 21 games. That's not a typo--21 games with not so much as a deuce. As Cox says in the interview below, they way they were serving, 50-48 seemed a possibility.
But serving at 13-14, Britton didn't just face his first break (and match) point of that stretch, but three, going down 0-40. He saved all three, to inject the first real drama into the previous 22 games, and after the second deuce of the game held, to make it 14-14. Cox held and in the final game, Britton had game points at at 40-30 and two points later, but after the second deuce, Cox earned a fourth match point, and his return caught Britton not quite ready as he charged in, and Britton netted the volley (it's the one point I saw on TV). McCrea reports that Billie-Jean King, Todd Martin, and adidas developmental coach Sven Groenefeld attended the match.
Cox's opponent in Sunday's final is also unseeded, with Russian Andrey Kuznetsov surprising No. 3 seed Bernard Tomic of Australia 6-3, 7-6(6). There was just one break in the first set and in the second set, Tomic took a 2-0 lead, but he immediately gave the break back, and each held for a tiebreaker. Tomic had a set point at serving at 6-5, but it was Kuznetsov who took control, winning the final three points.
The girls semifinals were nearly the opposite of the boys. As I mentioned in a tweet earlier today, there were more games in the final set of the Britton - Cox match (30) than the entire girls semifinals (29). Top seed Kristinia Mladenovic of France earned her second straight Junior Slam final spot with a 6-1, 6-2 victory over Miyabi Inoue of Japan, while No. 4 seed Noppawan Lertcheewakarn of Thailand earned her second straight Junior Wimbledon final appearance with a 6-2, 6-0 win over No. 6 seed Timea Babos.
Guy McCrea of Radio Wimbledon will be broadcasting the girls and boys finals on the Court 1 station, which can be found by clicking on the Radio Wimbledon page on wimbledon.org. The girls finals starts at 9 a.m. EDT Saturday. John Morris, an LTA junior coach, will provide color commentary. The boys finals time has not been set, but it is Sunday, not Saturday, which I'm sure Cox appreciates.
The junior doubles semifinals are Saturday, with only Beatrice Capra still alive among the U.S. juniors. Capra and her partner Martina Trevisan of Italy, who are unseeded, won their quarterfinal match with Isabella Holland and American Christina McHale, also unseeded, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2. They will play the No. 2 seeded team of Mladenovic and Silvia Njiric of Croatia for a spot in the final.
Britton and Cox were understandably not in peak form for their quarterfinal doubles match with Julien Obry and Adrien Puget, and the French pair, also unseeded, emerged with a 6-3, 7-5 victory. In fact, all four teams remaining in the boys doubles are unseeded. Americans Evan King and Denis Kudla, the No. 4 seeds, were beaten in today's quartefinals by unseeded Pierre-Hugues Herbert of France and Kevin Krawietz of Germany 7-5, 7-6(2). For complete draws, see wimbledon.org.
And a final note, if you missed the comment by rtg0041, a full replay of the Devin Britton - Alex Domijan quarterfinal can be viewed at nbcsports.com Click on the July 2 archive and scroll through the options. Thanks for sharing that information rtg00041!