Noskova claims a slice of history with junior triumph

16-year-old is the first Czech since 1978 to win the girls' singles title in Paris

Erika Andreeva, Linda Noskova, Roland-Garros 2021, girls' singles final © Julien Crosnier/FFT
 - Simon Cambers

Czech tennis may just have found another star.

Linda Noskova became the first Czech to win the Roland-Garros girls' singles title in more than 30 years on Saturday as she beat Russian Erika Andreeva 7-6(3), 6-3 on Saturday.

The 16-year-old emulated the feat of Hana Mandlikova, who won the junior title in 1978 and went on to win the women’s title in the French capital just three years later.

“It's an amazing feeling, indescribable," said Noskova, who ousted three top-10 seeds en route to the title this week. “I'm really proud of myself that I was able to make it through the whole tournament. All of the matches were tough for me from the beginning to the end till last match.

“I am very happy. Is my first win, Grand Slam, so it is amazing.”

As Andreeva’s last backhand landed out, Noskova bent double, hands over her face, the enormity of her achievement beginning to sink in.

“I had tears coming out, that doesn't happen too much,” she said. “Really emotional day for me.

“It's an honour to be a winner of Roland-Garros, be winner of a Grand Slam after this long time [for Czech tennis]. I am speechless right now. I don't know what to say actually. This is very special moment for me.”

With a Czech playing a Russian, the girls' final was a mirror image of the women’s final, between Barbora Krejickova and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

In a tight first set played in front of an enthralled crowd on Court 14, Noskova served for the first set but Andreeva forced a tiebreak. The Czech took it 7-3 but then found herself 3-1 down in the second.

From there, though, she produced a run of five straight games to clinch victory.

“I think my game was really good from the beginning to the last ball,” said the Czech teen, who is coached by Tomas Krupa. “Erika's as well. We just (fought) for each ball, and I think that is the most important thing.

“The result is not really that important for me, just the fact that I was able to make it through with such a tough opponent and with a good game.”

Inspired by Serena Williams as a youngster, Noskova said she was proud to have players like Petra Kvitova blazing a trail for Czech tennis.

“Petra Kvitova is a national hero and always will be,” she said. “I really look up to Barbora Strycova. She's a big fighter. Even though she finished her career, I think she's one of the biggest tennis players in our country.”

Erika Andreeva, Roland-Garros 2021, girls' singles final © Julien Crosnier/FFT

Noskova, who previously held a career-high junior ranking of 13 and currently has a WTA ranking of 655, said she will now play a mix of junior and senior events as she looks to make the next steps in her career.

“I will be playing as many Grand Slams as I will be able to,” she said. “Of course I want to play adults tournament more, but I’ve got to mix it both, I got to play some ITF tournaments as well.

“I will be focused on adults tournament more, I think, just to look in the future.”

Andreeva said she was disappointed not to win but proud of her week.

“I think from my side, in the most important moments, I didn’t play my best,” said the Russian 16-year-old.

“I think it was an amazing tournament for me. I played a lot of good matches, and I think it was a very good event. It was so special, it was really amazing. To have the French people cheering, was really good.”

double filles Roland-Garros 2021©Cédric Lecocq / FFT

In girls' doubles action, Philippines' Alexandra Eala captured her second Grand Slam doubles trophy to go with the Australian Open 2020 girls' doubles crown she won last year.

The top-seeded Eala and her Russian partner Oksana Selekhmeteva downed Maria Bondarenko and Amarissa Kiara Toth 6-0, 7-5 to lift the Roland-Garros junior doubles trophy.

Eala, who trains at the Rafa Nadal Academy in Mallorca, was the first player from the Philippines in 35 years to reach a Grand Slam junior semi-final when she made the last-four stage in Paris eight months ago.