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Friday, July 3, 2009

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!


Austin said...

I'd like to see Devin Britton head back to college for another year. Yeah he won NCAA's, but his overall record wasnt great. He was only 3-3 at #1, had four losses playing #2 and even lost a match at #3 this season. Finished the year 19th in the country. I guess Octogan threw some money in his face and the US Open wildcard was too hard to pass up.

David said...

You don't have to be a pro to be offered a U.S. Open wild card. He would have gotten one regardless.

I don't think he made a bad decision. Look at that way he closed the college season -- 14 straight wins against high caliber competition. Then he followed that up with great grass court results in juniors. I believe he's taken his game to another level over the last couple months and wouldn't be tested enough to justify returning from a developmental standpoint. He'd probably end up with 90% winning percentage.

I look for him to acquit himself well on the pro circuit.

Derek said...

Kudos to Brad Cox on his coaching prowess. He also took Jordan to Kalamazoo last summer. Good luck tomorrow. Go USA!

abc said...

I think Austin was referring to the prize money involved with the US Open wildcard...18.5k isn't exactly quite easy to turn down.

The Dude said...

"18.5k isn't exactly quite easy to turn down." Especially if you have been paying a lot of $$$ to travel to play because you are not in the USTA High Performance chosen few. This, once again, is another argument for the USTA to braoden their support because you never know who is going to break through. Evan King, one of the chosen few, lost first round in the 3 events in the UK. The elements that make a great junior player may be different than those elements required to be a top 50 ATP player. Look at the Donald Young vs. Sam Querry junior vs. pro success.