Melbourne: Australian Nick Kyrgios and Ana Konjuh of Croatia followed in some famous footsteps Saturday when they were crowned junior champions at the Australian Open. Krygios fended off another home player, Thanasi Kokkinakis 7-6, 6-3 while 15-year-old Konjuh was too good for Czech second seed Katerina Siniakova, taking the girls' title with a 6-3, 6-4 victory.
With two Australians in the final for the first time since 1994, the home crowd was guaranteed a double celebration for Australia Day. Kokkinakis had two set points in the first set but 17-year-old Kyrgios eventually wore him down to claim his first grand slam title, all without losing a set, to become the second straight Australian winner after Luke Saville's triumph last year.
"I'm pretty stoked with the last two weeks I've had, winning the lead-up tournament and now the Australian Open," Kyrgios told reporters. "It's a great start on the year.
"I wasn't actually that nervous knowing he had set points. I thought I played the big points well.
"Full credit to him getting to that position, but I thought I was a bit better on the big points today."
The 16-year-old Kokkinakis suffered a blow on the eve of the match when an MRI scan showed he has a stress fracture in his back.
"I was pretty shattered, to be honest," he said. "I woke up this morning and I was still a little bit annoyed but I thought I'd give it a crack. I actually did a little bit better than I thought I would. I didn't think I'd make it through a set. It held up and didn't really get that much worse during the play. But it just hurt when I tried to push off."
Kokkinakis had a similar injury in 2011 and had to stop playing for around six months but said he had still had the best month of his career. "I had a good match in the Australian Open men's qualifying, which went 17-15 in the third set, the longest tennis match I think I've ever played.