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THE FIRST TIME'S A CHARM: 15-Year-Old American Taylor Townsend Takes 2012 Australian Open Junior Girl's Singles And Doubles Titles

Saturday, January 28, 2012

15-year-old American Taylor Townsend takes 2012 Australian Open Junior Girl's Singles and Doubles Titles

It’s not often you get to drop to the ground on Rod Laver Arena and shed tears of joy. It’s one of those once in a lifetime opportunities.

But after 117 minutes in scorching heat on Rod Laver Arena, American Taylor Townsend shed those tears after becoming the 2012 junior Australian Open champion.

Townsend, just 15 years old, put a poor second set behind her to come away a 6-1 3-6 6-3 winner over fiery Russian Yulia Putintseva.

17-year-old Putintseva was clearly devastated by the loss and took her frustration out on her racquet, returning to her chair with a tangled frame and frazzled strings.

She also offered no words during the post-match presentation.

It has been a remarkable tournament for the 14th-seeded Townsend, who took home not only the girls’ singles title but also the girls’ doubles title in her first visit to Melbourne Park.

“It’s really exciting. I mean, it's a dream come true for me,” Townsend said.

“A lot of people were supporting me, and my family and everything are just so proud. It was just a proud moment for me and ... the feelings kind of rushed in.”

Townsend remained the more level-headed player throughout the match, a stark contrast to her feisty – and often vocal – opponent who was not afraid to express her emotions.

“I just kinda tried to focus on myself and just make sure [I] just keep playing one point at a time. That's what I kept telling myself: one point at a time, one point at a time.”

Putintseva trains at the Mouratoglou Tennis Academy in Paris under the watchful eye of former world No.1 Martina Hingis, who joined the academy in 2011.

It was a dream start for the American who raced to a 3-0 lead registering seven winners from her first 12 points won.

Townsend’s mix of powerful groundstrokes from the baseline coupled with pressure created from pushing forward to the net proved too much for Putintseva.

Townsend said her constant willingness to approach the net was all part of an effort for the American to stick to the game she is most comfortable with.

“My expectation was to just go out and play my game and play within myself every match and not really [conform] to the game styles of these other girls by playing at the baseline but, you know, moving forward and being aggressive, how I play.”

Putintseva finally got off the board after holding serve at 3-1 but it was a short-lived spell, as Townsend surged through 12 of the next 15 points to take the opener 6-1.

But the 17-year-old Russian wasn’t about to lie down.

Putintseva stormed through the opening games of the second set and raced to a 4-0 lead, offering herself plenty of verbal encouragement with fist-pumps and comments to her box.

Townsend’s once-flawless play from the baseline started to crumble with shots spraying wide or into the net, and it was the fourth seed’s turn to dictate the play and crunch winners.

Putintseva closed out the second set 6-3.

The deciding set began tightly, but at four-three up and on serve, the American claimed a crucial break of serve and never looked back, closing out the decider 6-3.

And so, after a junior Grand Slam singles and doubles title under her belt, young Townsend said she discovered a lot about herself in the past week.

“Well, I've learned that ... if you just compete and work really hard, anything is possible,” she said.

“You know, the family support and the support of people that are around you is key.”

But that’s not all she’s discovered.

“I also learned that I need to keep myself calm on the court, because that's when I play the best,” she offered with a laugh.


source: australianopen.org
Photo by: Ben Solomon/ Tennis Australia

Posted by Shelia

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