Back-to-back junior Slam titles for Korneeva

 - Chris Oddo

The 15-year-old has never lost a Grand Slam match

Alina Korneeva, Lucciana Perez Alarcon, finale, simple filles, Roland-Garros 2023©Clément Mahoudeau / FFT

Alina Korneeva is still perfect at the Grand Slams. 

On a balmy Saturday in Paris, the 15-year-old recorded her second major triumph of 2023, defeating Peru’s Lucciana Perez Alarcorn in a hard-fought girls' singles final on Court Simonne-Mathieu, 7-6(4), 6-3. 

Korneeva, who defeated Mirra Andreeva for her maiden Australian Open girls’ singles title in January, is the first player to win titles at the opening two girls' singles Grand Slam events of the year since Bulgaria’s Magdalena Maleeva in 1990.

The 15-year-old may have been surprised when she won her first junior Grand Slam title in Melbourne in January, but here in Roland-Garros, Korneeva expected to come through.

She had to rally from match point down in her first-round meeting with Germany's Ella Seidel before winning 3-6, 7-6(4), 7-5, but moved through her next five rounds without the loss of a set.

"I think now I'm not surprised," she said. "I [came] here to win a Grand Slam."

Pushed early

Korneeva was tested early and often by 18-year-old Perez Alarcorn. The No.6 seed, who is the first Peruvian woman to reach a Grand Slam singles final, twice held a break advantage in the opening set and earned four set points in the tenth game while serving at 5-4.

The pressure of the moment brought out Korneeva's best tennis as she rose to the challenge and powered through a tense tiebreak to take the opening set 7-6(4). 

Alina Korneeva, Roland-Garros 2023, girls' singles final© Clément Mahoudeau/FFT

After the match the No.3 seed told reporters that she was struggling on the court, but determined to power through nevertheless.

"Today was such an emotional match for me," she said. "We played the first set in one hour and some minutes. I was so tired. It was so hot today. Because of this, I felt myself not really good, not much physical energy - I think today I won more because of my mental game.

Korneeva, visibly frustrated at times in the first set, later told reporters that she tends to play better when she is angry.

"I didn't play today good for me, but maybe without emotions, I [would lose] this first set and maybe the second," she said.

Weathering the storm

Perez Alarcorn had only dropped one set prior to the final, and she gave Korneeva trouble in the early going with punchy baseline power, scrambling defence and counterpunching. It was difficult for Korneeva to finish points, but she continued to press, hammering her crosscourt backhand with exceptional pace and precision to open up the court.

The No.3 seed dialed in her power game in the second set, and attacked the net efficiently, hitting 14 winners against 12 unforced errors in the final set while winning seven of ten points at net.

After a trade of breaks early in set two, Korneeva won four of the final five games to close out her triumph in one hour and 36 minutes.

Korneeva becomes first girl to win two Grand Slam singles titles in a season since 2013, when Ana Konjuh and Belinda Bencic each took two junior titles at the Grand Slams.

By reaching the final Perez Alacorn has become the third Peruvian player to reach a Grand Slam junior singles final – joining 1995 Roland-Garros boys' champion Jaime Yzaga and 1997 Roland-Garros boys’ singles runner-up Luis Horna.