29 Oct 2017

Kostyuk crowned Junior Masters champion

News Article

By Max Woodward

Photo: Paul ZimmerMarta Kostyuk (UKR)

Marta Kostyuk lifted the girls' trophy at the ITF Junior Masters on Sunday courtesy of a 64 63 win over Slovenia's Kaja Juvan.

Kostyuk, the world junior No. 3, trailed in both sets but fought back to lift the crown against an opponent she had defeated earlier in the week.

“I actually have no idea how I won the first set,” remarked the 15-year-old. “It was so fast you know, everything, I started to lose fast and then I won fast.”

The Ukrainian seems to thrive when her back is against the wall, but insists there is nothing special about her mindset when she trails in a set.

“You just keep playing every point like a new point, you’re not looking at the score," she said.

Juvan appeared very relaxed in the build-up to the title showdown, singing along to Katy Perry’s ‘Roar’ in her practice on Sunday morning. And the 16-year-old roared into the match, breaking her opponent’s serve in the opening two games before holding to open up a 4-1 lead.

Then, with the score a 4-2, Kostyuk begun her comeback, breaking serve twice as she embarked on a four-game winning streak to clinch the opener.

Juvan eventually halted the run of games, a sensational rally going the way of the Slovenian to fend off a break point, and then took advantage of a visibly disheartened Kostyuk to break serve and take the lead in the set.

Juvan would only win one more game as Kostyuk once again went on a run of four games, taking a 5-2 lead. Given the opportunity to serve the match out, Kostyuk did not need a second invitation, and recorded a second win over Juvan in the space of three days to clinch the ITF Junior Masters crown.

“I felt pretty good at the beginning,” reflected Juvan. “But then something flipped in my head, and I was very tired from the whole week, I guess my head wasn’t quite as strong as I wanted it to be and it kind of went down.”

Kostyuk celebrated in style, whipping the crowd into a frenzy before performing a backflip in the middle of centre court. “I was doing acrobatics for seven years,” she explained with a grin. “I do it when the crowd plays along and when I win a tournament, I do it.”

The Ukrainian’s victory sees her move up to a new career-high ranking of No. 2, and she closes the gap on world No. 1 Whitney Osuigwe, with two Grade A tournaments left to play this season.

Osuigwe had a strong finish to the tournament, defeating Maria Lourdes Carle for the second time in the event, this time with a 62 62 scoreline, to clinch third place.

“This week's been great. I've played pretty good tennis the entire time. Yesterday [against Juvan] I struggled a little bit but today I knew it mattered so I played free and I actually ended up playing really well. So it's been fun here this week.”

Colombian Maria Camila Osorio Serrano claimed fifth place in the event after Wang Xin Yu, who had been struggling all week with a wrist injury, was forced to retire having lost the opening set 64.

Elena Rybakina finished the week in seventh spot courtesy of a 62 63 win over American Sofia Sewing.