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Nick Kyrgios


Nick Kyrgios is the Australian Open boys’ champion for 2013.

The 17-year-old from the ACT took down compatriot and close friend Thanasi Kokkinakis in the final to claim the title, winning 7-6(4) 6-3 at Rod Laver Arena on Saturday afternoon.

No better script could have been written for the highly-anticipated finale, with two Australians battling it out on Australia’s most prestigious court on the country’s national day.

But it was Kyrgios who did the celebrating, claiming his first grand slam championship and wrapping up a stellar tournament where he didn’t drop a single set.

"Obviously I'm really happy with that performance today, I knew that I had to play some really good tennis," Kyrgios said.

"I'm pretty stoked with the last two weeks I've had winning the lead-up tournament and now the Australian Open.

"It was obviously a great experience being out there knowing that (Roger) Federer and (Andy) Murray were grinding it out the night before. I thought the level of tennis out there today was really good."

Kyrgios now finds himself in sound company alongside Andy Roddick, Janko Tipsarevic and Marcos Baghdatis, all who have won an Australian Open boys’ title in recent years.

It was a particularly sour loss for Kokkinakis, who had scans on Friday night before the final which uncovered a stress fracture in the left side of his back. The 16-year-old suffered a similar injury in the right side in 2011 which sidelined him for seven months.

But the South Australian fought valiantly and, despite his immediate disappointment, said he was proud of his recent form.

“To make it through the final of junior Australian Open, which is my first ever win in a junior Grand Slam... was a good feeling for me,” Kokkinakis said after the match, reflecting on his past month.

“That's why it was a bit of a shame especially hearing the news last night, because it's been the best month I've had in my career as a stretch.”

The 54-minute opening set alone lasted longer than any of Kyrgios’ previous matches, and the third seed held on with the help of his booming first serve.

Kyrgios fought off three set points – twice saving himself via an ace – and with the scores locked at 6-6 he raced to a 5-1 lead in the tiebreak.

Kokkinakis, whose movement was clearly hampered for much of the match, fought back to 5-4 but Kyrgios held strong, reeling of the next two points to grab the opener.

A punishing backhand winner down the line from Kyrgios opened up a break point at 2-1 in the second set and the junior world No.1 capitalised, racing to a 3-1 lead.

Kokkinakis kept fighting, but it was the pinpoint ball placement of his opponent’s groundstrokes that proved too strong, Kyrgios closing the second 6-3 on his way to his first grand slam championship.

"I'm going to take a lot of confidence out of this," Kyrgios said.

"(There's) still a long way to go, it's a long journey, anything can happen, but right now I'm really happy."

The victory makes Kyrgios the fourth Australian to win the boys’ title in the last seven years behind Brydan Klein (2007), Bernard Tomic (2008) and Luke Saville last year.

Tuesday, 23 December 2014
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