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Saturday, July 2, 2011

Saville Wins Wimbledon Boys Title; Min in Girls Doubles Final; Kvitova Flashback

One of the four junior Wimbledon champions was decided today, with No. 16 seed Luke Saville of Australia coming from behind to beat No. 15 seed Liam Broady of Great Britain 2-6, 6-4, 6-2.

Broady seemed to have the match under control when he took a 2-0 lead in the second set, but the 17-year-old left-hander didn't slam the door, losing his serve at 2-1, and again up a break, at 4-3. Given that third chance, Saville, also 17, seized it and even with a large Court 1 crowd behind him, Broady could not regain any momentum. Saville, who had lost the Australian Open boys final in January in a similarly supportive environment, is the first Australian to win the boys Wimbledon title since Todd Reid in 2002. Reid, who also reached the Australian boys final in 2002 (losing to Clement Morel of France), has become something of a cautionary tale in Australian junior development circles, with his career-high ATP ranking of 105 coming in 2004. He was out of professional tennis by 2007.

Saville told Guy McCrea, who called the match for Radio Wimbledon and will be doing the same for Sunday's girls final, that he isn't certain whether he'll play the US Open juniors in September or not.

For more on the boys final, see the ITF junior website and wimbledon.com.

Sunday's girls final will also feature an Australian, with 15-year-old Ashleigh Barty, seeded 12th, meeting No. 3 seed Irina Khromacheva of Russia. Barty is playing in only her third junior slam, but she has already won enough ITF women's circuit matches to be ranked in the 500s, which is where her 16-year-old-opponent Sunday is also ranked. Barty defeated unseeded Indy De Vroome of the Netherlands 6-4, 6-1 to end the Roehampton champion's grass streak at 10 matches. Khromacheva reached the final, her first in eight junior slam appearances, with a 7-6(5), 3-6, 6-1 win over No. 2 seed Caroline Garcia of France. It was revenge for the Russian, who lost to Garcia 6-1, 6-3 in the Australian Open girls quarterfinals in January.

Grace Min of the US has reached the final of the girls doubles with partner Eugenie Bouchard of Canada. No. 2 seeds Min and Bouchard defeated Beatriz Haddad Maia of Brazil and Mayya Katsitadze of Russia 6-1, 6-3 in Saturday's semifinals and will play the unseeded team of Demi Schuurs of the Netherlands and Hao Chen Tang of China. Tang failed to qualify for singles, but she is an Junior Olympic gold medalist in doubles, although not with Schuurs, who won the Australian Open girls doubles this year with An-Sophie Mestach of Belgium. Schuurs and Tang defeated Khromacheva and her partner Barbora Krejcikova of the Czech Republic 6-2, 6-2 in today's semifinals. For more on Min and Bouchard, see Stephanie Myles' blog at the Montreal Gazette.

Although Broady couldn't provide the home crowd with a singles champion this year, there will be another boys doubles title for a British boy. Oliver Golding of Great Britain and Jiri Vesely of the Czech Republic, the No. 1 seeds, will face Great Britain's George Morgan and Croatia's Mate Pavic, the No. 2 seeds, in the championship match Sunday. Morgan and Lewis Burton lost in the final last year to Broady and his partner Tom Farquharson.

For complete draws, see wimbledon.com.

Twenty-one-year-old Petra Kvitova powered her way to the women's title today, beating Maria Sharapova 6-3, 6-4 to become the first grand slam singles champion born in the 1990s. Kvitova played very little outside her home country of the Czech Republic as a junior, but her affinity for grass was evident four years ago, when she won Roehampton, and competed the following week at Wimbledon, the only junior slam she ever played. She lost in the third round to Katarzyna Piter of Poland, but I did snap the above photograph of her there in 2007, the only year I attended Wimbledon. She hasn't changed much, but I can't say when I saw her play then that I had any inkling she would win Wimbledon a mere four years later.


tennis guy2894 said...

Unfortunately, I think the women's pro tennis game is at a low right now.