10 December 2010 | Tennis Australia
The boys 18s singles semifinals got underway today with a clinical display form top seed James Duckworth and an explosive encounter between second seed Sean Berman and third seed Maverick Banes.
First up was Duckworth, who completed a 6-3 6-2 defeat of fifth seed Luke Saville in emphatic fashion.
Photos: Optus 18s Australian Championships
Opening the encounter with an ace, Duckworth was in fine form from the early stages of the match. In stark contrast, Saville was forced to fend off break points in his opening service game, which added to the mounting pressure. The break came in the fourth game, as Duckworth moved ahead into a 5-2 lead and later closed out the set 6-3.
In the second, Duckworth broke a dejected Saville in the first game, later having to save break points against his own serve to lead 4-2. Moving around the court with ease, Duckworth appeared to have all the answers to Saville’s game. He took the second set 6-2 but insisted that he must improve if he is to take out the final.
“I think we were both a bit nervous, probably wasn’t both our best match … it’s always tough playing a friend.
“I think I could probably improve a bit still, that’s what I’m looking to do in each match, if I want to win the final I’ll need to play a bit better again.”
Looking ahead to the final, Duckworth is taking nothing for granted, anticipating a tough match.
“I haven’t played Sean before; I lost to Maverick here last year so I think it will be a tough match whoever wins.”
Facing Duckworth in the final will be Sean Berman, who outmuscled Queenslander Maverick Banes 6-4 1-6 6-3.
From the tight opening games it was evident that the deadlock would not be broken easily. However, the tug of war was eventually won by Berman, who broke to lead 3-2 with a blistering forehand down the line.
Clawing his way through the Banes defence, Berman aimed for the lines relentlessly, which ultimately gave him the advantage. In a terrific display of controlled aggression, Berman held serve to win the opener.
Yet just as the 17 year old seemed at the height of his game, errors began to flow from his racquet. Sensing the opportunity, Banes pounced to lead 3-1 and soon after closed out the set with the loss of just one game.
Into the third and Berman was reluctant to give up too much ground to his older opponent. He broke the Queenslander with a masterful volley to go up 2-0 and then extended his lead to 3-0.
But Banes would not go down softly, breaking back to level the match at 3-3 after a flurry of forehand winners. However, the momentum shifted once again, as Berman broke Banes to gain the ascendancy at 4-3. In a tight finish from both players, Berman appeared the tougher of the two, closing out the set 6-3.
Following the match, Berman was pleased with his game going into the final.
“I reckon it was very good tennis from both of us; very high standard of play, you know, it was very intense and neither of us gave away anything.”