Melbourne, Australia , 16 December 2023 | Leigh Rogers

Giselle Guillen has been crowned the girls’ singles champion at the 16-and-under Australian Junior Tour Masters.

It caps a perfect week for the 15-year-old from New South Wales, who did not concede a set throughout her title-winning run at the 2023 December Showdown.

“I’m so happy,” Guillen beamed after recording a 7-6(6) 6-3 victory against South Australian Kristina Tai in today’s final at Melbourne Park.

“I’m also kind of relieved because it was such a tough match. Kristina is such a great competitor.”

After storming into the final in convincing fashion, Guillen was determined to maintain that momentum against Tai, who was her doubles partner this week.

“I was nervous, but I was just telling myself to compete out there and give it my all,” Guillen said of her pre-match mindset.

“I just wanted to take it point-by-point and not think about the outcome, just play and enjoy it.”

The top-seeded Guillen made a promising start, racing to a 4-1 lead.

However, Tai then won four consecutive games to take control of the match.

It was 16-year-old Tai’s second final appearance at this year’s December Showdown, following the left-hander’s runner-up finish in the 18/u girls’ doubles competition last week.

“She started playing really well and hitting some amazing shots,” Guillen said. “I didn’t really have an answer.”

Tai twice served for the opening set – but was broken each time, with Guillen desperately trying to hang with her big-hitting opponent.

“Obviously I felt a little bit of pressure on me, but I just had to stick to my game and just keep playing the way I play,” Guillen said.

Tai established a 4-2 lead in the opening-set tiebreak, before Guillen claimed six of the next eight points to earn a one-set lead.

“I think it was crucial,” Guillen acknowledged of the absorbing opening set.

“Winning it was a really big momentum change and gave me a bit of a confidence boost.”

As Tai took a bathroom break, Guillen referred to some notes in her tennis bag.

“I like to write some key tips and inspirational quotes to get me going,” Guillen explained. “If I need solutions then I just go through them.”

‘Just believe, get out there and give it your all’ was one of those key messages.

That’s exactly what Guillen did in the second set, earning a double break to race to a 5-1 advantage.

Tai, who was attempting to become the first South Australian to win the title since Alicia Molik 27 years earlier, managed to win two more games.

But after 90 minutes on court, Guillen closed out a hard-fought victory.

As Guillen celebrated winning the national title, the determined competitor was already looking ahead to her next challenge.

“This is obviously great, but I need to keep training and working hard,” said Guillen, who hopes to compete at next month’s Australian Open junior championships.

“I want to keep developing my game. I feel like it’s coming together nicely, I just need to continue putting in the work.”

Rianna Alame from New South Wales and Tasmanian Alicia Dale won the girls’ doubles title, upsetting defending champions Bridget Mihulka and Ava-Monet Sycamore 5-7 6-1 [10-5] in the final.

Alicia Dale and Rianna Alame celebrate their 16/u doubles victory. Picture: Tennis Australia

The unseeded duo were overjoyed – and surprised – to win the title in their first tournament as a team.

“Words can’t describe, it’s a great feeling,” Alame said.

“We originally weren’t meant to play doubles together. My doubles partner pulled out two days before the tournament so I had to find someone in the draw. Alicia was the last person (without a doubles partner), so I sent her a DM on Instagram. She got back to me, so we paired up.”


Girls’ singles, final
[1] Giselle Guillen (NSW) d [3] Kristina Tai (SA) 7-6(6) 6-3

Girls’ doubles, final
Rianna Alame (NSW)/Alicia Dale (Tas) d [4] Bridget Mihulka (Vic)/Ava-Monet Sycamore (NSW) 5-7 6-1 [10-5]

> VIEW: 16/u Australian Junior Tour Masters draws

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