Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Pervak downs Robson in girls’ single

Ksenia Pervak has scooped the Australian Open girls’ singles title for the first time in her career with a no-nonsense 6-3 6-1 win over Laura Robson on Saturday.
The Russian No.3 seed spent much of last season successfully playing satellite ITF tour events, and now holds a women’s world ranking of 154. The experience certainly stood her in good stead for today’s encounter with the young Brit.
Pervak dominated the game from the outset, driving balls deeps into the angles of the court while showing no sign of the leg problems that troubled her earlier in the week.
In contrast, Robson – who attracted column inches galore after winning the 2008 Wimbledon girls’ singles title – appeared flat. While rallies were plentiful, the No.5 seed rarely appeared in control of them.
The Melbourne-born player, who left Australia when she was just 18 months old, admitted earlier in the week that she had been growing more tired, and this week’s searing heat in Melbourne had not helped.
Today’s contest was completed in much cooler conditions at Rod Laver Arena, but it did little to re-energise Robson, who had her serve regularly broken, tallied seven double faults, and succumbed to the power and accuracy of her Russian opponent in 74 minutes.
Despite the loss, a perky Robson turned up to the press conference in a jumper borrowed from Spanish star Fernando Verdasco. Speaking about how she acquired the oversized garment, Robson said: “I just spent an obscene amount of time in the anti-doping room. It’s air conditioned in there and I didn’t have a jumper. I went in the cafe and asked him if he had a jumper, and he gave me this one.”
Referring to the match, the Brit said she was disappointed to lose but felt she played as well as she could. “I’ve played some senior matches as well. Maybe experience wasn’t the key factor, but definitely her consistency was.”
Pervak shunned junior tournaments last year, choosing to compete on the adult tour instead. So what prompted her to play in the junior event this year? “It takes a long way to come here from Russia, so that’s why,” she said.
Pervak admitted she was anxious stepping onto Rod Laver Arena for the first time: “ I was a little bit nervous in the morning. But I’m really glad that I keep it [playing] well and I really enjoyed it … I played really good today. Like everything was down the lines and I moved well.
That was the key.”
Looking to the future, the Russian added she hoped to play the junior event at the French Open. “I really like Paris and the tournament there. So hopefully I will play there.”

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