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Australian Open: Nick Kyrgios triumphant on Australia Day; Ana Konjuh takes girls title

Anand Datla
FEATURED COLUMNIST
Modified 26 Jan 2013

Nicholas Kyrgios (FILE PHOTO)

With the women’s finals scheduled for the night, the Rod Laver Arena hosted the juniors event in the day session. Nicholas Kyrgios got the better of his friend, fellow Aussie and doubles partner Thanasi Kokkinakis in a closely contested boys finals 7-6(4), 6-3 to help the local fans raise a toast on the proudly celebrated Australia Day. It was a much needed boost for the fans, especially after the defeat of Casey Dellacqua and Ashleigh Barty, the 16 year old who stole many an Aussie heart this fortnight. The girls juniors title was won by Croatian Ana Konjuh, who recovered in time from a blip in the second set to take a well deserved 6-3, 6-4 victory over the 16 year old Czech player Katerina Siniakova to take the title.

In the first all Aussie final since Ben Ellwood put it past Andrew Ilie in 1994, the promising Kyrgios, who chose Tennis over Basketball a few years ago, made the choice worth it with a polished effort over Kokkinakis. Kyrgios, who just ascended to world No. 1 on 21st January, celebrated his elevation with a tenacious effort that saw the 17 year old save two set points in the first set before stealing the ensuing tie-breaker.

Unfortunately for the 16 year old Kokkinakis, he had discovered that he was carrying a stress fracture in the back through an MRI on the eve of the finals and that effort was all he could offer. Kyrgios, who saved all five break points on his serve, took one to nail the second set and the match with it. “I was pretty shattered, to be honest,” Kokkinakis said. “I woke up this morning and I was still a little bit annoyed but I thought I’d give it a crack.” It just wasn’t enough to test his mate on the day. “I’m pretty stoked with the last two weeks I’ve had, winning the lead-up tournament and now the Australian Open,” said Kyrgios, who emulated compatriot Luke Saville, the winner last year to keep the trophy in Australia.

In the girls singles finals, Konjuh took court aware of the fact that she had a bright chance for a double delight, having beaten the same opponent in the Orange Bowl finals in December last year. Konjuh had already won the girls doubles event with Carol Zhao of Canada. The top seeded pair came from behind to defeat Oleksandra Korashvili and Barbora Krejcikova 5-7, 6-4, 10-7.

Ana Konjuh

Ana took a 3-0 lead in the first set, riding on an early break. Siniakova did all she could to rein in the 15 year old Croatian, but the younger of the two managed to hold on to the advantage before serving out for the set in just 26 minutes. The world No. 3 among junior girls failed to press ahead at the start of the second set, when she failed to convert a couple of break points in the third game. Siniakova took advantage of her opponent’s tentativeness to swing the momentum her way, to break for the first time and take an assuring 4-1 lead in the second set.

Unfortunately though for the Czech, she could not sustain the acceleration and Konjuh worked her way back into the set before breaking a second time in the ninth game. Ana served out the match in the next game to clinch a deserving victory, extending her winning streak to an impressive 23 straight matches.

Published 26 Jan 2013
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