Fifteen-year-old Ashleigh Barty capped off an exceptional fortnight at Wimbledon for Australian teenagers Sunday, defeating Irina Khromacheva of Russia 7-5, 7-6(3) to claim the girls title, the first for her country since 1980.
After 18-year-old Bernard Tomic had reached the quarterfinals as a qualifier in the men's draw and 17-year-old Luke Saville had captured the boys title yesterday in come-from-behind-fashion, Barty, the No. 12 seed, handled any pressure she may have been feeling very well despite a slow start. Trailing the No. 3 seed by two breaks in the first set, Barty fought back to 4-4 and kept the pressure on, taking a 6-5 lead, then breaking the left-hander to snatch the opening set.
It was Barty who took the lead in the second set, but her early break didn't last, with Khromacheva, who trains at Justine Henin's Sixth Sense Academy in Belgium and had her mentor watching on Court 1, breaking Barty at 4-2 and holding for 4-4. At 5-5, Barty was broken quickly, but Khromacheva failed to capitalize on her opportunity to serve out the set, losing the game without reaching a set point to set up a tiebreaker.
Barty never trailed in the tiebreaker, and when Khromacheva dropped both her serves down 2-3, Barty took control. Khromacheva saved one match point with a bold drop shot/volley combo, but that was all she could muster, as Barty closed it out on the next point.
Juniors rarely indulge in the same theatrics as men's and women's champions, and according to Sandra Harwitt's article on the ITF junior website, Barty was no exception. Winning Wimbledon as a junior is certainly satisfying, but most probably recognize that the true pinnacle of tennis is reached on the professional level, with years of work still ahead of them.
Barty now joins Debbie Freeman, won won the title 31 years ago, as the only two Australian girls champions at Wimbledon. Barty is the first Australian junior girl to win a slam since Jelena Dokic captured the US Open girls title in 1998.
The Wimbledon website, providing its first comprehensive coverage of the girls championships today, had this account of the final.
Fortunately wimbledon.com had a second reporter to cover the girls doubles final, because it was a very exciting championship match, with No. 2 seeds Eugenie Bouchard of Canada and Grace Min of the United States saving two match points while posting a 5-7, 6-2, 7-5 victory over unseeded Demi Schuurs of the Netherlands and Hao Chen Tang of China.
Bouchard and Min failed to convert any of the four break point chances they had in the final set, and were themselves broken at 4-4, leaving Schuurs and Tang to serve for the match. Up 5-4, 40-15, they had two match points, but failing to convert those, Schuurs and Tang lost their chance, and serving to stay in the match at 5-6 were broken at love to deliver the match to the Bouchard and Min.
In the boys doubles final, Great Britain's George Morgan bettered his runner-up status of last year, taking the title with Mate Pavic of Croatia. The No. 2 seeds defeated Oliver Golding of Great Britain and Jiri Vesely of the Czech Republic, the top seeded team, 3-6, 6-4, 7-5 in front of a large and appreciative Court 1 crowd.
More on the boys doubles can be found at wimbledon.com.