Kasatkina Crowned Junior Champion
Published June 08, 2014 12:12
PARIS, France - Six years ago, an Eastern European teenager with elegant movement and a steely will to win took home the girls' singles titles at Roland Garros.
That success proved a sign of things to come for Simona Halep, who, on Saturday afternoon came within a whisker of adding the senior crown to her ever-growing trophy collection.
A few hours before Halep stepped on Philippe Chatrier for her dramatic final with Maria Sharapova, another Eastern European teenager, Darya Kasatkina, was busy making her first impression on the Roland Garros faithful by coming from a set down to defeat top seed Ivana Jorovic in the girls' singles final.
While she managed to claw her way back to a tie-break, Kasatkina could not stop her more fancied opponent from taking the opener. However, she forged ahead at the start of the second to help force a decider.
Kasatkina had already decided that the French Open would be her final tournament as a junior, and in the third set she looked intent on bowing out on a winning note, building a healthy early lead once more before holding on to complete a 6-7(5), 6-2, 6-3 victory.
"It's the best day of my life, even after the match I'm still nervous," Kasatkina said. "I'm delighted but exhausted. I really can't get my head round what is happening, I find it hard to believe that I've won a Grand Slam tournament."
Kasatkina, who now trains in Belgium, is the first Russian to take home the junior title in Paris since Nadia Petrova in 1998, and she is now concentrating on emulating her compatriot's success in the senior ranks.
"I was 4-1 down but I still managed to come back, only to lose it on a tie-break. It was tough, it was cruel, but I knew that I would have to just stick it out and carry on battling," she added. "On the pro circuit, I can't afford to get off to such lousy starts to matches. In the quarterfinals I was 5-1 down and then again today it was 4-1. You can't do that among the pros."