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Saturday, January 27, 2018

Korda, Liang Claim Australian Open Junior Titles; Lilov Reaches Les Petits As Final; Osuigwe and Di Lorenzo to Meet in $25K Final; Defending Team Indoor Champion Virginia Loses in Kickoff Weekend Action

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Twenty years after his father Petr won the men's singles title on Rod Laver Arena at the Australian Open, 17-year-old Sebastian Korda captured the boys title on the same court, defeating Chun Hsin Tseng of Taiwan 7-6(6), 6-4.

Korda, the No. 7 seed, fell behind 2-0 in both sets, and he trailed No. 6 seed Tseng 5-2 in the tiebreaker. After holding both his serves for 5-4, Korda got the mini-break back with a forehand winner on the outside half of the sideline, but he went down a set point at 6-5, only to save it with a great first serve.  Two rare unforced errors by Tseng gave Korda the set, with Korda's serve--he had 9 aces and was serving in the 120s--and his composure during the most pressure-packed points the key to his win.

In the second set, Korda broke back immediately after going down 2-0 and broke Tseng again at 2-2 with a perfectly executed forehand winner doing the job. Serving out a junior slam can be tricky, especially for someone who had never been beyond the third round of a junior slam previously, but Korda showed no sign of nerves, starting with an ace and closing it out on his first match point at 40-15, when Tseng missed a backhand. Korda gave a delayed scissor kick, his father's signature celebration, and spoke of how happy he was to give his father a late birthday present and his mother an early one.

Korda is only the third American boy in the Open Era to win the Australian Open, joining Andy Roddick (2000) and Donald Young (2005).

For more from Petr Korda on his son's run to the final, see this article from the ATP website.  For an interview with Sebastian, see this from the ATP.

No. 2 seed En Shuo Liang became the first girl from Taiwan to win a junior slam singles title, defeating unseeded Clara Burel of France 6-3, 6-4 in the final.  The 17-year-old Liang, who is on a 18-match ITF Junior Circuit winning streak, also won the girls doubles title.  She and Xinyu Wang of China, the No. 1 seeds, defeating No. 7 seeds Violet Apisah of Papua New Guinea and Lulu Sun of Switzerland 7-6(4), 4-6, 10-5.

For more on Saturday's finals, see the ITF Junior website.

Victor Lilov reached the final of Les Petits As with a 6-3, 6-3 win over doubles partner Evan Wen and will face top seed Mikhail Gorokhov of Russia for the prestigious 14-and-under title.  Lilov, seeded fifth, showed off some excellent volleys, and handled Wen's big serve well. Lilov defeated No. 8 seed Wen last week in the Bolton final, although that match went three sets.  Gorokhov defeated No. 7 seed Matthew Donald of the Czech Republic 6-2, 6-0.

Katja Wiersholm fell in the semifinals, with the No. 5 seed falling to No. 7 seed Linda Noskova of the Czech Republic 6-2, 6-2.  Noskova, not as physically mature as many of the girls of that age, served well and made very few errors despite playing aggressively.  Wiersholm's lefty serve did not bother Noskova much, and with Wiersholm's unforced error count high, Noskova posted a relatively easy win.  She will face unseeded wild card Alexandra Eala of the Philippines, who defeated no. 13 seed Katerina Dimitrova of Bulgaria 6-1, 6-3.  Eala, who turned 13 this month, reached the Junior Orange Bowl 12s final in December.

I'm not certain the finals will be live streamed, but if they are, it will be via this page on the tournament website.

Whitney Osuigwe and Francesca Di Lorenzo will meet in the final of the $25,000 USTA Women's Pro Circuit tournament in Wesley Chapel Florida after both posted straight-sets wins today.  The 15-year-old Osuigwe, playing in her first tournament since winning the Orange Bowl early last month, defeated No. 2 seed and WTA No. 183 Irina Bara of Romania 7-6(3), 6-4 for her seventh consecutive straight-sets win, including three in qualifying.  Di Lorenzo, who defeated top seed Anhelina Kalinina of Ukraine in Friday's quarterfinals, beat 17-year-old Olga Danilovic of Serbia 6-3, 6-1.  Osuigwe will be playing in her first Pro Circuit final, while Di Lorenzo, who left Ohio State recently after her sophomore year, will be playing in her fourth at the $25,000 level. She won one of those, back in 2016.

The ITA Division I Kickoff Weekend is underway at sites across the country, although rain has been a problem at some locations.  See the ITA tournament page for links to results, with the winners heading to Seattle(men) and Madison Wisc(women) for the National Team Indoor Championships next month.  Defending men's champion Virginia is already out, losing to Texas Tech 4-3 in Charlottesville today. Defending women's champion Florida is into the final in Gainesville, the Gators will face University of Louisiana-Monroe Sunday.


Doping said...

To bad Petr Korda was stripped of his Australian Open title for doping....so I wonder what other father son combos can say they won the same GS title in junior and pro event