French Open Juniors 2011 – Girls’ Singles Final

It was a weekend of historic victories in female tennis with Li Na becoming the first Asian Grand Slam winner and Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur overcoming Monica Puig 7-6 (10-8), 6-1 in the French Open girls’ singles final.

Ons Jabeur (TUN)

The 16-year-old is the first girl from North Africa to win a junior Grand Slam title and has also matched the feat of fellow Tunisian Mustapha Belkhodja who was the boys’ champion back in 1956.

She came close to winning 12 months ago having made the final in 2010 but beat this year’s Australian Open finalist Puig to deny the Puerto Rican a maiden Grand Slam title.

Despite losing in straight sets it could have been very different for the fifth seed as a tiebreak first set turned out to be the pivotal moment of the match.

Both players had chances to claim the set in the 18-game tiebreak. Puig saved set points when 4-6 and 6-7 down and then had two set points herself which Jabeur turned around thanks to a couple of timely aces and a forehand winner.

The ninth seed then came into her element and produced an array of shots in a fine advertisement for specialist clay court tennis.

The drop shot had the most prevalent use and allowed her to cruise to victory, breaking Puig three times and not giving her a sniff of a break back.

Although disappointed now, 17-year-old Puig is enjoying a successful year having won two $25,000 ITF titles which have seen her WTA ranking rise to #314.

Jabeur’s junior ranking has risen to number four after this triumph and with a good record in grass and hard courts she’ll be aiming to increase her WTA position which is currently outside the top 500.

Jabeur joins previous girls’ singles winners such as Martina Hingis and Justine Henin whilst the girls’ doubles winners were Irina Khromacheva and Maryna Zanevska to join the likes Kim Clijsters, Victoria Azarenka and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova who have enjoyed wins in that category in the past.

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French Open Juniors 2011 – Semi-finals

The final line-ups for the 2011 French Open juniors have been decided with the two favourites that looked destined to meet in the girls’ singles final both losing in three set semi-final encounters.

Irina Khromacheva (RUS)

Russian second seed Irina Khromacheva had an unbeaten record stretching back to March but couldn’t keep the run going on the Grand Slam stage as Monica Puig won 6-3, 1-6, 7-5.

The Puerto Rican has been in impressive form herself on the ITF circuit and the opening set reflected the players’ current confidence as the pair broke each other several times. Puig came out on top before Khromacheva blitzed the second set despite a first serve percentage of 40%.

The decider lasted more than an hour and the Russian’s continued poor service game allowed Puig two break conversions to seal victory.

Her opponent in the final is not the one the French crowd had hoped for. Their rising homegrown star Caroline Garcia had been a set and 4-1 up against Maria Sharapova last week but she’s struggled in the junior event.

The 17-year-old came back after losing the first set to Ons Jabeur of Tunisia but 12 double faults in the match and her failure to hold serve once in the third set led to her elimination at the semi-final stage with the final score reading 6-2, 1-6, 6-2.

Both Puig and Jabeur have experience at junior Grand Slam finals. Fifth seed Puig lost the Australian Open final in January to junior world number one An-Sophie Mestach whilst ninth seed Jabeur reached the final at Roland Garros last year before losing to Elina Svitolina.

The two boys’ semi-finals also went to three sets but the bad news continued for French tennis as Tristan Lamasine bowed out.

Wildcard Lamasine had surpassed everyone’s expectations by making the last four in his home tournament having failed to make it past the first round last year.

It was a similar situation for his opponent too. American Bjorn Fratangelo had previously never won a Grand Slam match but recent good form on clay means he’s in with a chance of becoming the first US winner of the boys’ singles title at Roland Garros since John McEnroe in 1977.

Fratangelo was clinical with his break point opportunities taking three out of three to win 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 leaving Lamasine wondering what might have been had he taken his other seven break point chances.

Word is going round that Bjorn Borg is set to be in attendance for the boys’ singles match on Sunday (also the day of the girls’ singles final). Perhaps a good omen for the boy named after the Roland Garros legend.

If he’s to take the crown then he’ll have to stop 14th seed Dominic Thiem after the Austrian came back from losing the first set to beat Mate Delic 3-6, 6-3, 6-1.

There was good news for Irina Khromacheva in the girls’ doubles as herself and her partner Maryna Zanevska reached the final. They’ll play Victoria Kan and Demi Schuurs whilst American pairing Mitchell Krueger and Shane Vinsant face Spanish duo Andres Artunedo Martinavarr and Roberto Carballes Baena in the boys’ doubles final.

French Open Juniors 2011 – Quarter-finals

Bjorn Fratangelo British fourth seed Oliver Golding crashed out of the French Open juniors after being beaten by Amercan Bjorn Fratangelo for the second time in two weeks.

In the clay of Milan during the Trofeo Bonfiglio, Golding had been smashed 6-2, 6-0 and in Paris the outcome was to the same degree going down 6-1, 6-1 in just 47 minutes.

Back then Golding vented his frustration on Twitter and this time was no different. The 18-year-old said: “I have to put my hands up and say ‘too good’. When I played him two weeks ago it was the best anyone has ever played against me, but I think he just played even better.”

Not only did Golding lose in singles but he’s out of Roland Garros completely after his run in the doubles also came to an end when himself and Jiri Vesely were beaten in their quarter-final match.

There was some good news for Golding later though when it was announced he had been given a wildcard for the grass court tournament in Queen’s next week. Another young American, Ryan Harrison, was also one of the four wildcards.

For Fratangelo, named after clay-court specialist Bjorn Borg, it’s been a fruitful couple of weeks on the red dirt having reached the quarter-finals of the Trofeo Bonfiglio and now his first Grand Slam semi-final.

The 17-year-old has a great chance of making the final too but seeing off home talent Tristan Lamasine could be a tough task. Lamasine beat German Robert Kern in straights but it was less than straightforward with the wildcard saving three set points in a second set tiebreak before winning it 8-6.

In the other half of the draw, Dominic Thiem became the only surviving seed in the boys’ singles. The 14th seed beat Spain’s Oriol Roca Batalla 6-3, 6-2 and will play Mate Delic who beat another wildcard quarter-finalist in the form of Miki Jankovic.

After five days which saw the the top five seeds progressing in the girls’ singles a shock was finally provided. Top seed Daria Gavrilova played came out worse in a three set encounter with Tunisian Ons Jabeur.

Jabeur now has the chance of making history as the first Tunisian to win a Grand Slam title. She came close last year, finishing as runner-up and will now have the tricky task of beating Caroline Garcia if she’s going to at least match that.

The number three seed came through her match with Yulia Putintseva comfortably and made a change from her tight struggles having almost gone out of the tournament in round two after being match point down.

Putintseva and Gavrilova had been two of three Russians in the last eight but only one made it to the semi-finals and she looks unstoppable.

Irina Khromacheva, Trofeo Bonfiglio winner two weeks ago and unbeaten since mid-March has yet to drop a set in the French Open juniors this year and dispatched of Anett Kontaveit 6-4, 6-1.

At #520 on the WTA rankings the recently turned 16-year-old is already looking like a future star and next to face that imperialistic form is Monica Puig.

The fifth seeded Puerto Rican’s potential classic with fourth seed Natalija Kostic didn’t pan out that way and she came though in comprehensive fashion finishing with a 6-1, 6-3 scoreline.

At #314 in the world rankings of the WTA tour, the semi-final between Puig and Khromacheva could be the showcase of women’s tennis’ next generation.

All the boys’ doubles and girls’ doubles news is also available via the Roland Garros website.

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