Purely Russian battle

In the entire history of the Australian Open, only three Russians have previously managed to win the main trophy of the women's junior tournament.

In 2006 and 2007, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova became the strongest, in 2009 Ksenia Pervak ​​repeated her success, and in 2014 this bar was submitted to Elizaveta Kulichkova, after which not a single domestic tennis player reached the decisive round of the competition.

The closest to this were Anastasia Tikhonova and Elena Rybakina, now representing Kazakhstan, both reached the semi-finals.

This time the cup was supposed to go to Russia.

For the first time since 2015, two Russian athletes, Mirra Andreeva and Alina Korneeva, met in the finals of the junior TBS, by the age of 15 they had strengthened themselves in the group of the most talented young tennis players on the planet.

Together, they did not manage to hold even fifty tournaments under the auspices of the ITF, but even before the start of the Australian Open they were in the top 20 of the world ranking and were considered one of the favorites of the competition.

As a result, both managed to confirm their status and go the whole distance in Melbourne.

On the eve of the final, it was extremely difficult to give preference to one of them.

In addition to performing in singles, the girls played together in pairs (and even made it to the semi-finals at this AO), so they were well aware of each other's strengths and weaknesses.

In personal meetings, Korneeva led with a minimal advantage, taking over her compatriot in Kazan in October 2020.

True, it would be reckless to take this into account in the context of this match.

A much more important factor could be Alina's fatigue, who survived the three-set duels in the 1/4 and 1/2 finals, as well as her problems with her left ankle, which the tape hinted at.

But, although at times her movements seemed constrained, this did not stop the girls from giving the fans a real three-hour thriller.

The confrontation turned out in the best traditions of women's tennis and was full of breaks.

In total, there were already 14 of them, and exactly half of them fell on the final game.

Moreover, in most cases, Andreeva turned out to be catching up.

Already at the beginning of the first set, she “burned” 0:2, but took three games in a row and regained the initiative, and then defeated her opponent in a tie-break.

Even the incredibly high percentage of hits by the first ball (85%) did not save Korneeva.

It seemed that Andreeva would be able to take advantage of the problems of her compatriot and put the squeeze on her in the second game segment.

In the first game at the reception, she had two break points, but failed to use any of them.

In key episodes, Mirra began to rush and subsequently missed a couple more opportunities to take Alina's serve, succeeding only once.

True, by this time she was already inferior in the long run, so she only restored parity.

The key was the ninth game, stretching for almost 12 minutes.

Andreeva led 40:0 on her serve, but suddenly she began to make mistakes: either she hit out of bounds, or she sinned with untimely cuts and exits to the net.

Korneeva regained her self-confidence and first made the second break in the game with a chic backhand dribble, and then took her away.

And Andreeva trembled.

If up to this point the marriage rate of both tennis players was absolutely equal, then in the third set Mirra began to give gifts to her compatriot over and over again.

During this period, she scored four double faults and 33 unforced ones (against Alina's 18).

This is what in many ways allowed Korneeva to get ahead and come close to victory.

However, Andreeva did not give up and made a comeback.

First, she bounced back from 1:4, and then did not allow Korneeva to realize the match point and took another protracted game lasting more than ten minutes.

But this jerk took too much strength from Mirra.

In the 11th and 12th games, she won only one draw and lost in a tense and dramatic duel - 7:6 (7:2), 4:6, 5:7.

The Russians spent 3 hours and 18 minutes on the court, and at the end of the match they could not hold back their tears and cried even during the handshake at the net.

Andreeva was very upset by the failure and could not recover until the official awards ceremony, where she made a speech with difficulty.

Korneeva, although she gave vent to emotions, pulled herself together.

She thanked her compatriot for the game, and then confirmed that she had to fight not only with her opponent, but also with injuries.

“Most of all, I was nervous because my whole body ached.

I thought I couldn't perform.

In the quarterfinals, I felt pain in my leg ... And I pulled my stomach at the end of the last tournament, so I served weakly.

In the second set, I already thought that everything, it seems, should be removed.

But I always led, and it would be stupid ... So I decided to try.

But there were thoughts, ”Sports.ru quotes Korneeva.

Sobolenko's success

In the finals of the adult Australian Open, tennis players who are not indifferent to Russian fans also met.

First of all, this concerned Elena Rybakina, a native of Moscow, but many domestic fans also have warm feelings for Arina Sobolenko.

And not only because she trained for several years under the guidance of Dmitry Tursunov.

In this duel, the favorite was also not traced.

Unlike her rival, Rybakina can boast of winning the majors and knows firsthand how to prevail in the most important confrontations.

The problem is that she had never dealt with Sobolenko before.

In the three previous matches, the Belarusian was stronger, while they all developed according to a similar plot: Arina took the first set, gave the second, but in the third she again gathered her strength.

This time, things did not go according to Sobolenko's plan.

Excessive nervousness resulted in an abundance of mistakes, both unforced and double.

There were already five second ones, and most of them directly or indirectly led to lost innings.

Moreover, two occurred at the key moment of the game - with a score of 4:4.

By this time, Arina managed to win back a deficit of two games, but then she stumbled again, and could not make a reverse break.

In the second game segment, everything turned 180 degrees.

Rybakina began to experience difficulties on the pitch, while Sobolenko acted almost flawlessly.

The percentage of first-ball hits rose to 72%, and seven aces came in very handy.

And although there were still plenty of misses, a huge number of winners outweighed them.

It was the activity on the back line that helped the Belarusian earn seven break points and convert one of them.

An athlete from Kazakhstan failed to take advantage of any chance and allowed her opponent to restore parity.

In the final game, the game was equal for a long time.

Sobolenko looked a little more confident, giving only three draws in the first three games on her serve, while Rybakina periodically created difficulties for herself.

And if she managed to win back the first three break points, then the fourth one became fatal.

Arina pulled ahead and came close to her first triumph at the major.

With the score 5:4, Sobolenko went out to apply for the championship, and it was at that moment that Rybakina finally came to her senses.

Rivals gave the longest game in the match, which lasted more than nine minutes.

Arina earned one match point after another, but as soon as she remained one accurate hit from the title, she began to get nervous and over and over again could not hit the square with the first ball.

As a result, only on the fourth attempt, she broke Elena's resistance and still won the first Grand Slam tournament in her career.