Saturday, March 17, 2012

Saville wins Open boys' final

Updated January 28, 2012 20:10:44

Luke Saville joined esteemed company when he won the Australian Open boys' title, and not just by collecting the trophy from Ken Rosewall.

Saville became a dual junior grand slam champion on Saturday, adding the Australian Open to last year's Wimbledon title and joining recent Australians of the calibre of Pat Cash and Bernard Tomic to win two boys' majors.

The 17-year-old South Australian beat Canada's Filip Peliwo 6-3, 5-7, 6-4 on Rod Laver Arena to go one better than last year, when he was defeated in the final by Czech Jiri Vesely.

After being presented with the trophy by Australian great Rosewall, the top seed told spectators that winning the final felt a "shitload" better than losing.

Saville, who hails from Cobdogla, a country town of just 232 people, admitted later he should probably have chosen his words more carefully.

"I'll probably regret saying that word, but it was just the heat of the moment. It was just raw emotion out there. I said what I thought," he said, adding that it could have been worse. "Lucky it wasn't the other word."

Saville, the world's top-ranked junior, cruised to the final with the loss of just one set, but he was pushed hard by the unseeded Canadian before eventually winning in exactly two hours.

Earlier, left-handed American Taylor Townsend was a surprise winner of the girls' title after beating fourth-seeded Russian Yulia Putintseva in three sets.

The 14th-seeded Townsend cruised through the first set but had to fight off a comeback from the Russian before winning 6-1, 3-6, 6-3.

Townsend, 15, secured the win despite making 44 unforced errors, balanced by her 36 winners.

Saville is now on the lookout for a wildcard into Wimbledon's main draw, but knows defending his junior title will be his main focus.

"The junior tournament is the second week, so unless I'm in the quarters of the men's, I'm pretty sure I'll be playing juniors," he said.

"But of course I'll put my hand up for a wildcard. It's obviously going to be an awesome experience if I get a wildcard into the men's, but that's a long way away.

"Obviously I'd love to play main draw there, but all I can do is try my best, get my ranking up, put my hand up. If they want to give me a wildcard, then awesome."

With a current world ranking of 1,177, success on the Futures circuit and a win or two at Challenger tournaments between now and June are essential if he is to justify a wildcard from the All England Club.

Saville says he cannot split his Wimbledon and Australian Open titles, but was satisfied by his ability to handle the pressure as top seed and local favourite to beat Peliwo.

"To stand up to that pressure and win the tournament, it's a massive relief, as well. So I can't really put one in front of the other," he said.

"It's almost relief to win it... it was almost shock at Wimbledon [and] here it's almost relief, different feelings but both feel just as good."


Tags: australian-open, tennis, sport, melbourne-3000, australia, adelaide-5000, sa, vic

First posted January 28, 2012 17:48:22

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