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Masarova and Blancaneaux crowned junior champions

By Bojana Bobusic   on   Sunday 05 June 2016
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Switzerland's Rebekah Masarova edged out American 14-year-old Amanda Anisimova in two tight sets, while France's Geoffrey Blancaneaux survived three match points to beat Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime.

Girls' singles final

Rebeka Masarova made her big-stage experience count in the Roland-Garros girls' singles final, beating 14-year-old No.2 seed Amanda Anisimova 7-5 7-5 on No.1 Court.

The Swiss 16-year-old, a semi-finalist at the junior Australian Open earlier this year before runs to a Grade 2 title in March and a Grade 1 final in April, kept her composure and maintained her consistency to win the big points when it counted, claiming her first junior Grand Slam singles title in two close sets.

"I was really nervous in the beginning, and then at the end I was 5-2 up in the second set and my opponent also was playing very good," admitted Masarova, who survived a spirited fightback from her American opponent. "I did some mistakes, and I went 5-5; well, she went to 5-5.

Undeterred, Masarova broke the No.2 seed again to seal victory. "It sounds crazy to say I'm a Grand Slam champion; I'm so happy I won this slam. And, I don't know, I still have to like realize it".

RG junior champion: Rebeka Masarova

Anisimova, only 14 years of age, is currently ranked No.5 in the ITF's world junior rankings and has already run up an impressive resume in her short career. At the end of last year she won a Grade A event in Mexico, and earlier this year she also won a Grade 1 tournament in Costa Rica. A very clean striker of the ball, the young American put up a fight against her elder opponent producing shots and carrying herself in a very professional manner. 

Only a few points separated the two young juniors in Sunday's final. Anisimova looked in control with a break to lead 4-3 and serving at 40-0. But the young American was unable to convert, losing her service game and as the unforced errors began creeping into her game.

Masarova sensed the opportunity and stepped up to the moment, unleashing her forehand to dictate play and leaning on her consistency to force the errors, holding her to serve to love at 5-5 before breaking in the twelth game to take the first set 7-5.

The teenage Swiss carried that momentum into the second set, using her defensive skills to turn many points around and taking a quick 5-2 lead in the second set. Masarova hit with power and depth, and her winning play was using her forehand down the line to wrong foot her opponent.

At this stage Anisimova had nothing to lose, hitting the ball freely she fought her way back to level the set at 5-5, but it was the Swiss who composed herself, winning the big points when it counted, and managing to close out the match and set 7-5 and win her first Grand Slam singles title.

Masarova will look to reset her goals after her big win on Sunday.

"My goal was to reach like top three," she said. "I think I did it with this tournament. I will try to reach No.1 in juniors. I will play some pros and I will prepare for Wimbledon, as well."

Boy's Singles Final

Hot on the heels of Caroline Garcia and Kiki Mladenovic's historic triumph in the women's doubles, France was given more cause to celebrate when Geoffrey Blancaneaux fought back from the brink to secure the boys' singles title, saving three match points before overcoming Canada's No.11 seed Felix Auger-Aliassime 1-6 6-3 8-6.

Auger-Aliassime, at just 15 years of age, was playing to become the youngest junior to win a Grand Slam since Bernard Tomic at the Australian Open in 2008. The Canadian got off to a formidable start, holding to love in his opening service game and then breaking in the fourth for a 3-1 lead wit some big hitting off the baseline, aggressinve play and fearless forays forward to finish at the net, closing out the set 6-1 in just 22 minutes.

The second set was a different tale, Blancaneaux finding his feet and using the crowd to fire himself up. The 17-year-old took an early break in the second game, and while Aliassime fought his way back to level the set at 2-2, he struggled to maintain his form, being broken again in the sixth game and again, on a double fault, in the eighth.

Geoffrey Blancaneaux

"I want to succeed in life, and when I'm contending with difficulties, I hang on. This is my principle. I wanted to win" Blancaneaux said afterwards. He proved a boy of his word in the final set.

Both players showed fight and determination, and both had their chances to assert dominance. Blancaneaux grabbed a break in the fifth game, but Aliassme leveled up with an immediate break back for 3-3. "Yeah, was very up and down. It was difficult," Blancaneaux admitted.

with Blancaneaux serving at 5-6, Aliassime carved his way toa winning positon, bringing up three break points, match points and championship points at 15-40. But on the verge of victory the young Canadian struggled with his shots, overplaying too much, and let Blancaneaux off the hook. Reprieved, the 17 year old snatched a break in the next game before surging to victory, closing out the match with five consecutive points and sealing the title on a forehand winner.

"After I come back I save three match points, was incredible in my mind" said the French junior. "In the last two games I managed to take the upper hand physically and mentally.

"My main objective was to win the tournament at the start of the week, and I managed to win the tournament. There were lots of difficult situations, but I managed to overcome. I'm delighted."

RG junior title for Geoffrey Blancaneaux
Next Article: Five of the best: Men's tournament
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