Lertcheewakarn Gets Her Wimbledon Title; Cox Set for Sunday's Boys Championship; WTT Buzz Win Opener with Subs
Serena Williams wasn't the only 2008 Wimbledon finalist to step up to the championship today. Thailand's Noppawan Lertcheewakarn became the first junior slam winner from her country when she fought back against top seed and World No. 1 Kristina Mladenovic of France for a 3-6, 6-3, 6-1 victory. And as she tells Guy McCrea in the above interview, she's hoping to match Serena's two titles when she takes the court in the doubles final Sunday.
Thanks to Radio Wimbledon, I was able to listen to the entire match (with one eye on the television and the Williams sisters), and early in the second set, when Mladenovic was still firmly in control of the match, analyst John Morris said that if Lertcheewakarn was able to somehow take the second set, she would be favored to win the third. And less than an hour, he was proved right, with No. 4 seed Lertcheewakarn storming back, while Mladenovic's vaunted first serve, which she got in only 40% of the time, couldn't save her. The unforced errors began to pile up, especially on the backhand side, and Mladenovic, the reigning French girls champion, wasn't able to make a match of it in the final set.
Lertcheewakarn had just lost to Mladenovic 6-1, 6-4 in the Roehampton semifinals last week, so she displayed some impressive mental toughness after being overpowered in the first set. But after saving five match points in her first round victory over Alejandra Granillo of Mexico, perhaps she felt destiny was on her side this time; plus she didn't have the entire home country against her, as she did when she lost the final in three sets last year to Laura Robson.
For more on the girls final, see the ITF junior website, and wimbledon.org.
The two girls finalists will meet again on Sunday in the doubles final, after they and their partners scored straight set wins in late afternoon semifinals. The unseeded team of American Beatrice Capra and Italian Martina Trevisan took an early 3-1 lead over second-seeded Mladenovic and her partner Silvia Njiric of Croatia, but lost five games in a row to drop the opening set. In the second set, it was Mladenovic and Njiric who took an early 3-1 lead, and they kept it, holding serve throughout the match and winning it 6-3, 6-3.
Although Lertcheewakarn already has two junior slam doubles titles, the 2008 U.S. Open with Sandra Roma of Sweden and the 2009 French Open with Elena Bogdan of Romania, she and partner Sally Peers of Australia are not seeded at Wimbledon. They've beaten two seeded teams en route to the final, with No. 5 seeds Daria Gavrilova and Ksenia Kirillova of Russia falling in today's semifinal 6-2, 6-3.
The boys doubles semifinals today were much more hotly contested, and both went to extra games in the third. Pierre-Hugues Herbert of France and Kevin Krawietz of Germany squeezed past Carlos Boluda-Purkiss of Spain and David Souto of Venezuela 7-6(5), 3-6, 10-8 and the French team of Julien Obry and Adrien Puget earned their spot in the final with a 7-6(4), 6-7(2), 14-12 victory over German Alexandros-Ferdinandos Georgoudas and Andre Vasilevski of Belarus. None of the four semifinalists were seeded.
While Andy Roddick takes on Roger Federer on Centre Court, American Jordan Cox and Russian Andrey Kuznetsov of Russia will be battling for the boys title on Court 1, at 9 a.m. EDT. McCrea will again be doing the play-by-play for Wimbledon Radio which can be found here.
Complete junior draws can be found at wimbledon.org.
The amateur, USTA-sponsored World Team Tennis New York Buzz didn't have any of their regular players for last night's home opener. Evan King, Alex Domijan, Christina McHale and Sloane Stephens were still competing in the Wimbledon juniors on Thursday, so Matt Kandath, Jarmere Jenkins, Allie Will and Lauren Embree filled in, and couldn't have done any better, defeating the Philadelphia Freedoms 23-14. Madison Keys was not in the lineup for the Freedoms, nor was, of course, Venus Williams, so they also needed to field substitutes, Asia Muhammad and Surina De Beer. The Albany Times Union provided this coverage of the match.