Harold Mayot, the top seed from France in the Australian Open boys singles championships in Melbourne, has reached his projected place in the final with a 3-6 6-3 6-2 over compatriot Timo Legout where he will meet Arthur Cazaux in an all-French trophy match.
it’s amazing to have two French boys in the final. Arthur [Cazaux] is my good friend, I’m known him since we were so young, about 8 years old. We’ve been in French teams together, winning a lot of titles together. It’s going to be tough facing a good friend like this, but we have to play the match, to remember it is the final of a Grand Slam. Harold Mayot
It was Mayot’s second time in the semi-finals of a Junior Grand Slam, having reached that stage at Wimbledon last year, and his first attempt to clinch the silverware.
The junior World No 3 came through the draw in imperious style, dropping just 2 sets en route to the final, including the first one of his semi-final that prompted a fight-back.
“It’s of course an amazing feeling to be in the final here in Australia,” said Mayot, who trains in Paris at the national tennis centre near Roland Garros, and was Wimbledon semi-finalist and ITF Junior Masters finalist in 2019.
“I came here last year and lost in the second round, it was tough to take.
“I remember how I felt so sad after that match, but now I’m in the final and I hope I can win this tournament.”
The talented French duo had to battle a number of elements at Melbourne Park, with extreme heat, wind and rain showers, and Mayot was pleased with his patience.
“I think I managed the match very well. The conditions were Timo was playing great at the start, taking the ball very early, which was very difficult for me. But I kept going, kept fighting to the end,” he added.
At the age of 17, Mayot is a member of this unique French trio, who have grown up together and are great friends.
Cazuax, the No 5 seed, also took 3 sets to come through his semi-final encounter with Latvia’s Karlis Ozolins, 4-6 6-1 6-2, taking an hour and 36 minutes, just 10 minutes less than his buddy Mayot.
Mayot and Cazaux, doubles partners this week before falling at the quarter-final stage, will take to Rod Laver Arena for their silverware showdown on Saturday.
“Yeah it’s amazing to have two French boys in the final,” Mayot said. “Arthur is my good friend, I’m known him since we were so young, about 8 years old.
“We’ve been in French teams together, winning a lot of titles together,” Mayot said.
“It’s going to be tough facing a good friend like this, but we have to play the match, to remember it is the final of a Grand Slam.
“I need to focus on my match, but if I won it would be amazing to win a Slam. We will see.”
At the start of the season, in ATP Challengers, Mayot stunned two players in the top 150 and believes it boosted his chances this week.
“Of course, the experience of playing these kind of tournaments has helped me a lot here,” continued Mayot, who defeated Facundo Bagnis and Egor Gerasimov, before a tight loss to World No 81 Steve Johnson.
“When players face me here, they think I’m a very good player, it must be tough to face me.
“I take a lot of experience and confidence from playing those Challengers.”
Earlier on Friday, Cazaux downed Ozolins, the No 12 seed, off the back of 11 aces and 21 winners to earn his finale with Mayot.
It is the first fully French boys’ singles final since 2004, when World No 10 Gael Monfils defeated Josselin Ouanna.
Meanwhile, Nicholas David Ionel & Leandro Riedi completed a remarkable comeback to clinch the boys’ doubles title.
The No 5 seeds overhauled Ozolins & Mikolaj Lorens’s opening set lead to prevail 6-7(8) 7-5 [10-4] in the champion’s tiebreak.