Isabella Holland, 10 December 2010 | Damian Terbiler
Ashling Sumner, the fifth seed in the girls 18s tournament, was first through to tomorrow’s final, accounting for top seed Sophie Letcher in a dramatic encounter that lasted just under two hours.
Sumner will play second seed and favourite Isabella Holland in the final; the Queenslander beating third seed Monika Wejnert 7-5 6-2.
Photos: Optus 18s Australian Championships
Opening the pair of semifinals were Sumner and Letcher, who are pairing as doubles partners this week in the 18s girls final. Despite their friendship, Letcher was relentless from the outset, breaking the Sumner serve in the first game and extending her lead to 4-2.
However, it did not take too long for the fifth seed to establish herself in the match; a lengthy rally finished with a forehand down the line securing her the break to even the set at 4-4. But Letcher was still the more aggressive, bossing her shorter opponent from the back of the court to take the set 6-4.
In the second, the “never say die” attitude of the fifth seed began to pay off, frustrating Letcher into an array of errors and exposing her less nimble frame. Unable to crack the Sumner stronghold, Letcher wilted towards the end of the second set, which was reflected in the 6-2 score.
Early in the third, Letcher called for the trainer and was treated off court. While the details of her injury remain uncertain, it was clear that finding a way back into the match was almost impossible for the top seed. Sumner closed out the final set with ease 6-1, but maintained after the match that she was certainly facing a difficult opponent.
“It was definitely a tough one today, Soph played a great match and me and Soph always have really close ones so I’m really thrilled to have the win and looking forward to the finals.”
Sumner is preparing herself for a difficult match in the final, expecting a close affair with her opponent.
“Whoever I play it’s always going to be a tough match but I don’t have any preferences, I’m just going to watch and get some tactics …”
The fifth seed was courtside for the completion of Isabella Holland’s impressive display of all-court tennis against Monika Wejnert; a match that was close in the early stages.
Wejnert was able to break her opponent in the first game, looking the more confident of the two in the early stages of the match. Nevertheless, Wejnert failed to serve out the set at 5-4, allowing Holland to break back and soon after take the set 7-5.
The second seed only grew in confidence in the next set; her massive forehand causing havoc for her smaller opponent. Frustrated and outmatched in the majority of the baseline rallies, Wejnert promptly went down 5-2.
Despite making a final push at the end of the second, which allowed her to win an additional game, Wejnert eventually lost the set 6-3 as Holland advanced into the final.
Commenting on the final, Holland insisted that her aggressive play will be pivotal for the win.
“I think tomorrow I’ve got to be really aggressive, mentally tough and physically tough so if I can keep staying in the court, we’ll see how the match goes.”
Looking further ahead to next week’s Australian Open Wildcard Play-off, Holland was confident but reserved about her chances.
“I’ve had really good preparation this week; I’ve got a lot of matches, which is what I wanted. I mean Jelena Dokic, Alicia Molik, all those girls are in really good form and are going to be looking to win.”
First, however, Holland must focus on tomorrow’s encounter, a match that promises a contrast in styles between the counter-punching Sumner and the big-hitting Holland.
Draws and scores
18s boys’ singles draws and scores
18s girls’ singles draws and scores
18s boys’ doubles draws and scores
18s girls’ doubles draws and scores