Melbourne Park, 11 December 2010 | Damian Terbiler

In a tight tussle that certainly featured its share of all-court tennis, Sean Berman eventually prevailed over top-seeded Sydneysider James Duckworth 6-1 5-7 6-4; taking out the final of the boys Optus 18s Australian Championships.

While windy conditions threatened the quality of play throughout the match, Berman remained unscathed by the elements in the opening set, breaking in the first game. Perhaps nobody seemed more surprised than Duckworth about the sheer pace of Berman’s strokes, which were simply unstoppable.

Photos: Optus 18s Australian Championships

Despite his attempts to keep the ball towards the backhand wing of his rival, Duckworth rarely prevailed in the early baseline exchanges, surrendering a double break to go down 5-1.

The energetic and explosive Berman took the set in the following game as Duckworth could muster little resistance.

However, amidst a flurry of winners from the Berman racquet, Duckworth attempted to maintain his cool, steadying the one-sided match ever so slightly to even the score at 2-2 in the second.

Troubled by the wind and the unmatched power of his opponent, Duckworth nonetheless was broken to go down 4-2. The future appeared grim for the top seed.

Yet Duckworth refused to fade quietly and gift his opponent the match. He modified his game in order to break down the Berman onslaught, slicing the ball low to Berman’s backhand and countering his heavy hitting with a variety of spins and pace.

The plan seemed successful as Duckworth was able to break back for 4-4 and then save match points at 5-4 down, eventually evening the match. Berman, increasingly frustrated, double-faulted at 30-30 in the next game, which led to his undoing in the second set.

Some excellent serving won the top seed the second set and fired him up for the third.

Yet once again Berman cruised to an early lead in the third set; the second seed becoming accustomed to the change in pace from his rival. Nevertheless, some inspired forays to the net from Duckworth allowed him to break back and even the set at 3-3. From there on, little could separate the two players.

Only a loose game from Duckworth at 5-4 broke the deadlock, resulting in Berman breaking his opponent to take the match 6-4.

In defeat, Duckworth was still optimistic about his game ahead of next week’s AO Wildcard Play-offs.

“I’ve played a lot of matches this week so now I can go and prepare for the Play-off. I’m just going to take it one match at a time and give it my all.”

Similarly, Berman was pleased with his form ahead of next week’s AO Wildcard Play-off.

“I reckon I can touch up on my serve a bit, I was missing a bit too many first serves today but overall I’m pretty happy going into next week.

“It’s a great experience for me and I’ve got nothing to lose. I can go out there and play and hit the ball.”

Faced with the prospect of gaining a main draw entry into the Australian Open, Berman was ecstatic about the possibility of competing with the cream of men’s tennis.

“It would mean the world to me, you know it’s a dream playing main draw of a men’s Grand Slam and I just couldn’t be happier if I somehow got it.”

One thing is certain; the futures of both Duckworth and Berman are bright as both continue to impress with their diverse brands of tennis.