The top two junior seeds will meet in the Australian Open boys’ singles final after Alexander Zverev and Stefan Kozlov each survived three-set semifinals on Friday.
First seed Zverev ousted local hope Bradley Mousley 6-4 1-6 6-1 to reach his second Grand Slam final, after losing the French Open decider in 2013.
South Australian Mousley served an ace on the first point of the match – one of two in his opening service game – but was broken as the German opened up 2-0 advantage.
Mousley held his second service game after a struggle, and after Zverev served to love to move ahead 3-1, the 18-year-old started to settle into the contest.
But despite having chances, Mousley was unable to break back as the world number one junior claimed the opening set in 48 minutes on Margaret Court Arena.
From there Mousley looked much more comfortable, going ahead 2-0 in the second set and recovering from 0-30 to make it 3-0.
Zverev couldn’t break back, and Mousley wrapped up the set 6-1 to send the match to a deciding set.
“I was still thinking about the second one when it was 5-1, I was thinking maybe I could break him and make him a little nervous, but he served too well,” said Zverev of the second set.
Zverev came out looking like a different player in the final set, pumping himself up as he broke Mousley early to take a 2-0 lead.
The Australian was unable to work back into the contest, as 16-year-old Zverev moved into his first Australian Open final.
“It means to me a lot, especially playing on Rod Laver (Arena) tomorrow, it’s the only Grand Slam we are able to play on centre court,” said Zverev of reaching the final.
Zverev will meet second seed Stefan Kozlov in the final, after the American recovered from a one-set deficit to defeat Quentin Halys 2-6 7-6(3) 6-3 on Show Court 3.
Seventh seed Halys breezed through the first set 6-2, but as has been the case several times this week, 15-year-old Kozlov fought back.
It took a second set tiebreak for the American world number four to force the match to a third set, where he raced to a 3-0 lead he refused to surrender.
The final marks Kozlov’s first appearance in a major decider, but he will enter it with confidence having beaten Zverev in both previous encounters between the pair.
In the girls’ singes, Australia’s Kimberly Birrell saw her dream run ended by Croatian Jana Fett.
Fett made an emphatic statement in the opening set, winning 6-0, before 15-year-old Birrell showed plenty of courage to fight back in the second.
It wasn’t enough as Fett advanced 6-0 6-4 in just over an hour, setting up a meeting with fourth seed Elizaveta Kulichkova in the final.
Kulichkova withheld a challenge from China’s Ziyue Sun to win 6-4 7-5 on Court 7. It was a dominant serving display from the Russian, winning 15 of 16 points on her first serve in the opening set.
Both girls will be playing in their first Grand Slam singles final, with Kulichkova in Friday night’s doubles final.