For the fourth year in a row, a member of HEAD’s Team Elite has captured the boys’ championship at the Australian Open. Seventeen-year-old Western Australian Brydan Klein thrilled the host country’s fans with his 6-2, 4-6, 6-1 victory over fellow Team Elite member Jonathan Eysseric of France to join Gael Monfils (2004) Donald Young (2005) and Alexandre Sidorenko (2006) as Head Australian Open boys’ champions.
The unseeded Klein gave notice that he would challenge for the title when he upset No. 1 seed and Team Elite player Martin Klizan of Slovakia in the round of 16, and the right-hander from Perth continued his excellent play with his HEAD Flexpoint Radical OS racquet, taking straight-set wins over the No. 5 and No. 10 seeds in the quarterfinals and semifinals.
Eysseric, playing with a HEAD Flexpoint Prestige MP, is currently atop the ITF world junior rankings and entering the final, he had not dropped a set in the tournament. The 16-year-old left-hander had beaten Klein in the ITF Grade 1 in Nottinghill the previous week, but was facing an entire different atmosphere in Melbourne, where the boys’ championship match was played in the evening at Rod Laver Arena.
“I was really nervous when I went out,” Klein told reporters in a post-match news conference. “Suddenly all the nerves went and I played some really good tennis.”
Klein had the thrill of receiving his champion’s trophy from Australian tennis greats Pat Rafter and Todd Woodbridge, and will be serving as a hitting partner for the current Australian Davis Cup team for their tie in Belgium in February. His win in Australia has boosted his ITF world junior ranking to No. 4.
Austrian Team Elite player Tamira Paszek passed through the women’s qualification and reached the second round where she was finally defeated by WTA No. 21 Vera Zwonareva from Russia. Paszek, who plays with a HEAD LM Instinct, also played the Girl’s singles in the second tournament week where she made it to the last 16.
Other Team Elite players also had notable success in Melbourne. Australian Stephen Donald, who uses the HEAD Flexpoint Radical MP model, and his partner Rupesh Roy of India, gained the boys’ doubles final, before losing in three hard-fought sets to Graeme Dyce of Great Britain and Harri Heliovaara of Finland.
Seventeen-year-old Alize Cornet of France, playing with a Flexpoint Radical MP, also qualified for the women’s main draw and reached the semifinals of the girls’ tournament before falling to eventual champion Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.
And Victoria Azarenka, 17, the world’s top junior in 2005, reached the third round of the women’s tournament and the finals of the mixed doubles championship. Unseeded, Azarenka and her partner Max Mirnyi, also from Belarus, took out the No. 6, No. 1, and No. 4 seeded teams before bowing to Daniel Nestor of Canada and Elena Likhovtseva of Russia. Azarenka plays with a HEAD Flexpoint Instinct racquet.