The girls' final of the Optus 18s Australian Championships was completed today with Isabella Holland standing tallest on a windy day at Melbourne Park. The accomplished second seed took out fellow Queenslander Ashling Sumner 7-5 6-0 to assert herself as a genuine chance for the AO Play-off next week. Photos: Optus 18s Australian…
Melbourne Park, 11 December 2010 | Damian Terbiler
The girls’ final of the Optus 18s Australian Championships was completed today with Isabella Holland standing tallest on a windy day at Melbourne Park.
The accomplished second seed took out fellow Queenslander Ashling Sumner 7-5 6-0 to assert herself as a genuine chance for the AO Play-off next week.
In a match where extended rallies seemed to exhaust both player and viewer, Sumner’s nimble frame appeared the decisive factor in the opening stages of the first set. Holding in the first game, Sumner frequently attempted to keep the ball away from the explosive Holland forehand, complemented by frequent forays to the net.
However, Sumner herself was under fire from the Holland return game, which in turn caused her to commit a number of double faults, culminating in a break for Holland to go up 3-1.
Clawing her way back to 3-3, the fifth-seeded Sumner refused to be dictated to by her opponent’s power game. From there on, little could separate the two as Sumner began to come up with some forehand winners of her own.
Despite being the less agile of the two, Holland’s lateral movement was impressive, which allowed her to hold for 5-5. At that point, the decline in Sumner’s game came all too quickly; a double fault to open her service game underpinning her descent. Another two errors gifted Holland the break for 6-5, and the older of the two never looked back.
Winning the next game, Holland entered the second set riding a wave of momentum. She broke in the first game, and then again for a 3-0 lead with a blistering backhand down the line.
Amidst an array of shanks and errors from the Sumner racquet, Holland’s task in the second set was somewhat simplified. She hung tough and took the set without the loss of a single game; a testament to her consistency and concentration.
Following the match, Holland acknowledged the importance of her win.
“It’s a very big win, it’s an 18s Nationals; I mean when you’re growing up you always want to win a Nationals and then there’s the Australian Open in the next few years, you never know what can happen.
“It’s definitely great preparation for next week; I’ve got a lot of confidence for next week, which is what I wanted. “
Looking ahead to playing with the likes of Dokic and Molik in next week’s event and beyond, Holland was confident about the state of her game.
“I think it’s [my game] getting up there, of course there’s a few things that I want to work on to get better; that’s what I think even players in the top 10 are doing so if I keep going the way I’m going there’s a good chance.”
Next week, both girls contest the AO Wildcard Play-off, which presents them with a chance of qualifying for the main draw of the Australian Open. Both enter the tournament brimming with confidence and looking like a threat to their higher ranked opponents.
The draw for the AO Play-off will be held at Melbourne Park on Sunday at midday. Details will be available on tennis.com.au.