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Robson falls at the last in Aussie Open girls’ final

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Originally published on: 26/02/10 15:22

Despite a strong run through the girls’ singles draw in Melbourne, Laura Robson was unable to add the Australian Open title to her 2008 Wimbledon Girls Singles title, as she fell to 17-year-old Russian Ksenia Pervak 6-3 6-1.

The final took place in Rod Laver Arena starting at 1pm local time and, although the stadium can hold 15,000 people, even with the strong support that Laura has here and a few Russian followers for her opponent there were just 400 people on there at the start of play. The court filled up a bit as the match progressed and, with the roof was open, there was a much cooler breeze than we’ve been used to.

Robson’s after a ticket to watch the Federer-Nadal final – with her charm she might well get it…

Her opponent, the No.3 seed Ksenia Pervak, had beaten British girl Heather Watson in the quarter-finals. Not to make excuses, but the 17-year-old (her birthdate 27 May 1991) had a distinct advantage over her younger opponent today. Laura has just turned 15 (her birthdate 21 January 1994), and two and a half years is a considerable gap in junior tennis. Pervak, who has played more matches than Laura on the senior circuit, looked very comfortable on court and very strong too.

Having said that, Laura held her own in the first set. Despite going 0-3 down she pulled it back to 2-3 but lost the first set in 46 minutes having served 5 double faults and committing 5 unforced errors. Interestingly Pervak did not hit a single winner in the first set.

Laura showed some of her true colours digging in a 0-3, stepping up a gear when she fell behind, but she was unable today to get herself in front. The second set was all Pervak who went into a 4-0 lead and eventually took the set 6-1.

Robson looked a bit slower around the court than in her previous rounds. She had mentioned after her semi-final win that she was feeling more tired than she had during her run at Wimbledon – but she did not feel tiredness had affected her performance today. She felt the Russian had been more consistent.

Still, she can take heart from an impressive run to the final. She had beaten the No.1 seed Noppawan Lertcheewakarn and No.4 seed Elena Bogdan, so she has punched above her weight. The tennishead tenner might be on Laura to win here next year at 15 years of age shes got another 3 opportunities to play here. Although, in this kind of form, I doubt shell still be playing with the juniors for too much longer – shell be tackling the big girls sooner rather than later.

And some of those big girls will be green with envy after Laura came to the post match press conference wearing Fernando Verdascos adidias hoodie! It certainly was a bit big for her. She had gotten a bit chilly waiting in the anti-doping room, so she popped into the lounge and the Spaniard very kindly leant her his top.

So what now for Robson? First, she’s going to try and get a ticket to watch the Federer-Nadal final tomorrow night. I think with her charm if she asks she might well get it.

The boys’ singles title was won by Indian 16-year-old Yuki Bhambri, who blitzed Germany’s Alexandros-Ferdinandos Georgoudas 6-3 6-1. Bhambri becomes India’s first Australian Open junior champion on Saturday.

The New Delhi native completely outplayed his opponent, underlining reports that he is one of the most exciting prospects in Asian tennis in years.

Bhambri plans to switch out of juniors and onto the senior circuit as soon as possible. “Winning the Australian Open is obviously a very big achievement, regardless of being the first Indian,” he said afterwards. “But I dreamed of winning it, and it’s come true.

“Even if I wouldn’t have won it, I had already planned to focus more on men’s tournaments, playing more in the men’s circuit.”

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