Yuki wins junior Australian Open to create history (Second Lead)

January 31st, 2009 - 4:05 pm ICT by IANS  

Andy RoddickMelbourne, Jan 31 (IANS) Yuki Bhambri Saturday joined a select band of three other great Indian tennis stars by winning a junior Grand Slam tennis title, but the only one to do it at the Australian Open by outclassing German Alexandros-Ferdinandos Georgoudas 6-3, 6-1.Top seeded Yuki stamped his authority in packing off Georgoudas in less than an hour, 57 minutes to be precise.

The junior World No. 2 Yuki emulated the country’s tennis icons Ramanathan Krishnan and his son Ramesh and Leander Paes to win the singles title at a Grand Slam.

Ramanathan won the Wimbledon junior title in 1954, the first Asian player to achieve the feat. His son Ramesh carried the legacy. However, he is the only Indian to win two titles in the same year in 1979 — French Open and Wimbledon.

Paes is the only Indian to win a junior Grand Slam title in different years, his first in at Wimbledon in 1990 and then the US Open in 1991 as a 17-year-old.

Like Paes, Yuki has won his first Grand Slam at 16, and his post-match comments show that the Delhi youngster has his feet firmly planted on the ground.

Yuki also joins an illustrious list of former Australian Open junior champions like Andy Roddick, Marcos Baghdatis and Gael Monfils, all accomplished players on the circuit now.

“Winning the title is a big thing for me. But I am aware that it is a small step to bigger things in life,” Yuki said.

“I was confident that I could win. I had worked really hard. I changed my actions, I worked on my fitness and brought more power to my shots. It was a hard work of three-four months which paid off today”

Yuki dominated from the start, serving big and showing good court-craft. Such was his grip on 17 year-old Georgoudas that the German could not come anywhere near breaking his serve and at the same time hardly allowed him to hold his.

“I was a little nervous in the beginning, but as the match progressed I was calm and played my shots. I cut down on the errors against Georgoudas and made him play more balls,” said Yuki, who trains at the famous Nick Bollettieri Academy.

Yuki now wants to carry forward his success into the senior ranks.

“I am now gearing up to play in the men’s circuit,” said Yuki who is planning to play in a couple of ITF tournaments in Australia.

Yuki had been in imperial form right through the tournament and raised his game by a notch or two in the final.

Nothing worked for Georgoudas as Yuki was in firm control of the match never letting the grip off.

Georgoudas lost his first service game, his shots peppering the net, and he could never recover. The German, who shocked No.2 seed Julen Uriguen in the semi-final, was soon going downhill as Yuki mixed his clever netplay with some whipping forehands. The lone hiccup for the Indian was when he double-faulted in his final service game but that hardly made any difference to the final outcome.

Georgoudas conceded after the match that Yuki was too good and complimented him on a resounding victory.

“It is a very nice tournament here; well done Yuki, and I hope to play here in the future,” Georgoudas said.

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