Not much that I can add to the conversation after watching the longest fifth set in Grand Slam singles history. It was a phenomenal match that looked as if it might never end and it will define the 2009 Championships.
Qualifier Jordan Cox had won his own epic 16-14 final set match on Friday to reach the boys championship, but on Sunday he could not find the serve that had helped him beat Devin Britton and his previous six opponents, and he fell to unseeded Andrey Kuznetsov of Russia 4-6, 6-2, 6-2.
I was listening to Guy McCrea and John Morris call the match on Wimbledon Radio while I watched the men's final on television, and once they had determined that both Cox and Kuznetsov had worked out their nerves, they began to analyze the strength of Cox's forehand against the strength of Kuznetsov's backhand. The difference in the first set, which didn't produce a deuce game until Cox was serving at 4-4, came when Cox saved a break point in that game, then converted his only chance at 30-40 in the next for the set.
Although Cox's first serve percentage actually went up during the match, he didn't get nearly enough big serves in and when he was broken in the fifth and seventh games, he gave Kuznetsov too many looks at second serves. In the third set, Cox was again broken in the fifth game, this time on a double fault at 30-40, and Kuznetsov never gave him an opportunity to regroup. Far from relaxing with a 4-2 lead, the 18-year-old Russian, that country's first Wimbledon boys champion since 1966, kept the pressure on and broke Cox despite his 40-0 lead in the seventh game. Morris was urging Cox to use his net skills more, saying that area was one where the American had the advantage, but without confidence in his serve, that proved too difficult for the 17-year-old from the Atlanta suburbs.
McCrea had some technical problems with the interview he did with Cox and was unable to provide the audio file of it, but he paraphrased their conversation in an email.
"Jordan was understandably still pretty upset when doing media afterward. We talked a little about the match - I suggested he seemed a bit mentally tired in the final set, but he chose to talk more about his serving letting him down. He said he didn't get enough free points and chances to come to net because his first serve wasn't at the level he'd shown through the week.
I then suggested he should be pleased with the week as a whole - with the seven wins in a row - but that didn't seem to resonate with him. He just said he was disappointed at not playing better after the opening set."
The interview of Kuznetsov was not done by McCrea, but he was able to provide us with a few remarks by the champion below. Because Kuznetsov has not played in the U.S. the past two years, I also don't have any photos of him for display either. But see the ITF Junior website for Susan Mullane's photos (click to enlarge) and for the article on the boys championship match. There is a video interview with Cox on usta.com.
In the doubles finals today, Noppawan Lertcheewakarn of Thailand matched Serena Williams's two championships when she and partner Sally Peers of Australia cruised past No. 2 seeds Kristina Mladenovic of France and Silvia Njiric of Croatia 6-1, 6-1. It was Lertcheewakarn's third junior slam doubles title with three different partners, on three different surfaces, so it's safe to say she's got a great future in the pro game in that specialty. She is also expected to overtake Mladenovic for the No. 1 spot in the world junior rankings tomorrow, which is where she finished at the end of 2008.
The boys doubles final went to extra games in the third set, and that was no surprise, as both teams had won their semifinal contests with extended final sets. Pierre-Hugues Herbert of France and Kevin Krawietz of Germany fought back to take a 6-7(3), 6-2, 12-10 victory from the French pair of Julien Obry and Adrien Puget.
For more on the doubles finals, and the boys singles championship, see wimbledon.org.