15-year-old Russian woman makes RG history! Korneeva is one step away from the most powerful achievement
Sergey Emelyanov June 9, 2023, 16:03 Moscow time Audio version: Your browser does not support the audio element.
The junior Australian Open winner is close to repeating success in the French capital. However, this time there will be no purely Russian final.
In singles at this year’s adult Roland Garros, the Russian players performed with rather mixed success. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Karen Khachanov showed a successful game and managed to reach the quarterfinals, but none of our compatriots made it past the fourth round. And Daniil Medvedev’s own performance, a first-round loss, on the courts of Paris turned out to be a downright flop, if you call his name.
But in the junior championship, our girls caused a sensation, giving one of the best performances on principle in the entire history of Grand Slam tournaments. Four Russians made it to the quarterfinal stage at once, and in theory we could even witness all-Russian semifinals. A single step was not enough to solve such an optimistic task! Alevtina Ibragimova in the tie-break of the decisive set lost in the most insulting way to the Peruvian Luxian Pérez-Alarcón. In turn, Alina Korneeva, Alisa Oktyabreva and Anastasia Guryeva won their matches on Thursday, having managed to massively break into the semifinals of the French Slam.
Biography of the Russians who reached the quarterfinals of the junior “RG”
Three youngsters from Russia in the semifinals of “RG”: who are they? “Helmet” in Paris has not been taken by ours since 2014
In the first semifinal of today’s match day, two compatriots met: 15-year-old Korneeva and 14-year-old Oktyabreva. Alina came to Paris already in the status of the winner of the first Grand Slam youth tournament of the season. Six months ago, a Muscovite in a tense final match in Melbourne defeated Mirra Andreeva, who now performed magnificently in the French capital’s adult singles, reaching the third round and winning a set over American Corey Gauff.
Korneeva, ranked 331st in the WTA rankings, has yet to compete in adults. But among young people, she simply has no equal. So, her compatriot Oktyabreva today could not show Alina any resistance. Having spent only 52 minutes and losing only two games, Korneeva inflicted a devastating defeat on her slightly younger opponent – 6: 1, 6: 1, thanks to which she reached the second final in a row at the junior TBSH.
Along the way, Alina also designed a nice anniversary. For a 15-year-old girl, the victory in the semifinals was the 20th overall this season: in addition to the junior AO, she won the South African Pretoria, the W60 category tournament, defeating four top tennis players. She 400 on the road and defeating the more experienced Hungarian Tima Babos in the final-6:3, 7:6 (7:3). Then the Russian woman became the fifth youngest tennis player to win the ITF tournament at this level after Mirjana Lucic, Sara Beylek, Mirra Andreeva and Marta Kostyuk.
Alina Korneeva – on winning the junior Australian Open
“In the second set I already wanted to retire.” 15-year-old Russian woman: on winning the youth “Slam”
In the second semifinal, 18-year-old Guryeva, a student of sports school No. 1 in the Samara region, which is on the 615th line in the WTA rating, played. This is Nastya’s third year at the junior TSH: in 2021 she stopped in the first round of the RG, she finished in the AO-2022 there, advanced 1/16 at the US Open of the same year and now set a personal record. In Paris, she reached the semifinals, where her opponent was Pérez-Alarcón, seeded under the sixth number, who on the eve just interrupted the exclusively Russian clashes in decisive matches.
In the first set, Nastya immediately took the initiative on the court and very quickly scored the first break of the match, leading 3:1 in the first game. Pérez-Alarcón experienced obvious difficulties in the games with his serve, while Gurieva endured them with more confidence at the start of the game. In addition, at the reception, Nastya literally terrified the Peruvian again and again with sharp cuts, to which Luksyana could not get used to. One of these excellent drop shots gave Gurieva another break in the first set: 5:2.
At this time, the nerves began to have a very negative impact on the game of the Russians. For the first time in the match, having missed her throw, Gurieva then gave the game at the reception without a fight, after which she failed to request the game for the second time in the set. Having quickly lost such a comfortable advantage in the game, the Russian did not break down and tried to get back into her game. Another successful shorthand helped her get back in front with a break, but Nastya continued to stubbornly miss with innings per set. Even the triple set point won was not enough to end the game. The Peruvian made a reverse break and a few minutes later, on a wave of positive emotions, she finished off Guryev in a tiebreaker-7:6.
Such an embarrassingly lost set could mentally break any adult player, not just a junior. Guryeva did not want to give up and followed a desperate battle with the Peruvian top seed. She even took the lead again at the beginning of the game with a break-2: 0, but Pérez-Alarcón again showed enviable character and was able to restore balance in the set. As a result, the game took place in a super tense fight, in which both athletes could well have succeeded. With the score 4:4, Luksyana made another break and had a chance to apply for the match, and now it was the turn of the Russians to make a save. Caught in two draws from the defeat in the semifinals, Guryeva won the next four goals and continued to fight in the match – 5:5.
As a result, the fate of the set was decided at the end, where the Peruvian looked better on the decisive balls, for which she won – 7:5. The first purely Russian final at the junior Roland Garros, unfortunately, will not happen again.
The first interview with Korneeva after the victory in Australia
“Proud to win with injury.” First interview with Australian Open champion Alina Korneeva
If we put aside the glorious achievements of the Minsker Natalya Zvereva and the Muscovite Natalya Chmyreva of the Soviet period, then the only Russian woman who managed to win the junior Grand Slam tournament twice in one season remains Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. In 2006, young Nastya, at the age of 14, started the season with a win in Australia and finished with a title in the US. In January 2007, the Russian woman added another win to her collection at Melbourne.
Now 15-year-old Korneeva, who has already won the Australian Open title and has now reached the Roland Garros final, is trying to follow in her footsteps. In case of victory in the decisive match in Paris, Alina will become the second Russian woman in history and the first in the last 17 years with two junior titles in the same season. In this case, Alina will present herself with an excellent gift for her upcoming birthday – on June 23, the girl will be 16 years old.
At the same time, Korneeva can become the third Russian woman with the junior Roland Garros title, repeating the achievement of Nadezhda Petrova (1998) and Daria Kasatkina (2014).
How the Russians won the junior TBSH and what happened to them afterwards
Our junior TBSH champions did not take the adult “Helmets”. Who will break this tradition?