A new champion is born. 17 years old Brazilian Tiago Fernandes defeated another 17 years old Australian wildcard Sean Berman in the final of 2010 Australian Open junior. Congratz!
Brazil’s Tiago Fernandes has earned himself a memorable 17th birthday present, winning the Australian Open junior boys’ championship at Rod Laver Arena on Saturday.
Fernandes, who turned 17 on the eve of the final, overcame an early surge from Australian wildcard Sean Berman to win 7-5 6-3 in one hour and 50 minutes.
The win was the Brazilian’s first junior Grand Slam title, his previous best result being a quarter-final finish at last year’s junior US Open.
Seventeen-year-old Berman, a South-African born and New Zealand-raised player who now represents Australia, claimed the early momentum by hitting a series of quality forehand winners to break Fernandes’ serve and hold to take a 2-0 lead. However, Fernandes soon rose to the challenge, and leveled at 2-2 after breaking the Australian in a lengthy fourth game.
At 5-5, Fernandes fought off two break points against his own serve to hold and then broke Berman in the following game, claiming the set 7-5.
The 14th seed looked to be running away with the match early in the second set as he raced out to a 3-0 advantage, hitting some of the best of his 27 winners through this period.
The players then exchanged service breaks midway through the set, with Fernandes then holding to take a 5-2 advantage.
Serving for the championship at 5-3, the Brazilian managed to save three break points and eventually close out the match with an ace.
Upon claiming the championship point, the animated 17-year-old rushed over to his coach Carlos Eduordo in his players’ box to celebrate the win.
Although the Brazilian hit only two more winners and made just two less unforced errors than his opponent, he was able to capitalise on four of his eight break point chances. Berman managed just two from nine.
Following the match, Fernandes said the feeling was “unbelievable”.
“I’m really happy. It was an unbelievable weekend. I just want to enjoy this moment and next week I’ll practice some more,” he said.
Berman said he had mixed emotions.
“I’m very disappointed. But, I played a very good match and that’s all I can do. I had my chances and maybe could have been slightly more aggressive. “
Despite the loss, the Australian said he would take a lot from the experience of playing at Rod Laver Arena.
“It was a very good experience. It takes a while to get used to, but I’ll be able to look back at it and take good out of it. It gives me a lot of confidence for the rest of the year,” he said.
- Fernandes won four of eight break point chances, while Berman claimed only two of his nine opportunities.
- Fernandes made 67 per cent of his first serves, while Berman made 53 per cent.
- Both players turned 17 in January 2010.
- The Australian Open title was the first junior Grand Slam success for Fernandes.