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Melbourne | Liang beats Burel for AO Girls title

Melbourne | Liang beats Burel for AO Girls title
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Second seed En Shuo Liang from Chinese Taipei lifted the girls’ singles trophy at the Australian Open with a convincing 6-3 6-4 win over France’s Clara Burel in the final on Saturday.

It was a breath of fresh air for Liang as she had been pushed to three sets in four of her five matches before the championship decider.

After Melbourne, I’ll go more junior because this year have the Youth Olympic Games, so I will try to get into the Youth Olympic Games. I’m excited about it.

En Shuo Liang

Liang said it was a dream come true and all her hard work had paid off since being introduced to the sport by her mother when she was just six.

“Like I’m still in a dream. Cannot believe it,” she said.

“I start playing tennis at six because I was playing piano before. My mom want me to have exercise, so she choose tennis for me.

“I give up the piano. I choose the tennis. I love tennis more than piano.”

Prior to this Australian Open, 16-year-old Burel had only played one Grand Slam junior tournament at Roland Garros last year where she had not fared particularly well on her debut, losing in the first round of singles, and the second round of the doubles.

In her second Grand Slam event, however, she had a fine run, unseeded, all the way to the final, including a stunning 2-6 6-1 6-0 upset of top-seeded Wang Xin Yu of China.

“I can’t describe – I’m so happy, so proud of me, and so happy,” said Burel, of her achievement. “I think the difference in me now [from Roland Garros] is in the head. I am stronger.”

While she may have fallen short of the title, Burel can be continue to be proud of her performance.

The match began with the Frenchwoman breaking in the opening game before the Chinese Taipei rising star reciprocated immediately.

The second seed reeled off four consecutive games as she cruised through to take the opening set.

It was all thanks to the 17-year-old’s aggression, as she hit 12 winners to four, making it difficult for Burel to settle into rallies and make inroads into the match.

The second set was almost a mirror image of the first, with the Liang conceding her own serve early before winning the next three games and taking what looked to be the crucial break.

At 5-4 and serving for the match, Liang withstood a last-ditch fight from Burel, who was unable to convert on three break point opportunities in the final game.

Errors crept in from the Frenchwoman and it allowed the Liang to claim the straight sets win.

Liang’s left leg had been strapped for most of the tournament and despite a high level of match play in singles and doubles, the 17-year-old looked unhampered as she scampered to almost everything her opponent threw at her.

It was an emotional ceremony for the runner-up, as she held back tears while thanking her coaches’ box and family for their support.

The victorious Liang made a short speech acknowledging her support staff before sending a special message back home in her native language.

The title means that she holds a 12-0 record in 2018, after winning the junior event in Traralgon a week before the Australian Open began.

Liang’s next goal is to perform strongly at the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires in October.

“After Melbourne, I’ll go more junior because this year have the Youth Olympic Games, so I will try to get into the Youth Olympic Games,” she said.

“I’m excited about it.”

 








About The Author

Barbara Wancke

Barbara Wancke is a Tennis Threads Tennis Correspondent who has been involved in the sport for over 40 years, not only as a former player, umpire and coach but primarily as an administrator and tennis writer contributing over the years to Lawn Tennis, Tennis World, and Tennis Today. She has worked with the Dunlop Sports Co, IMG and at the ITF as Director of Women’s Tennis, responsible, amongst other things, for the running of the Federation Cup (now Fed Cup), and acting as Technical Director for tennis at the Seoul Olympics (1988). She subsequently set up her own tennis consultancy Tennis Interlink and was elected to the Board of the TIA UK where she became the Executive Administrator and Executive Vice President until she stood down in July 2014 and is currently an Honorary Vice President.

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