Korda, Liang win Australian Open junior titles

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Korda, Liang win Australian Open junior titles
United States' Sebastian Korda celebrates with a scissor kick after defeating Taiwan's Tseng Chun Hsin in the boy's singles final at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — American Sebastian Korda, son of 1998 Australian Open men’s champion Petr Korda, won the boys singles title on Saturday, beating Tseng Chun Hsin of Taiwan 7-6 (5), 6-4 in the final on Rod Laver Arena.

Liang En Shuo became the first player from Taiwan to win the girls singles crown, beating France’s Clara Burel 6-3, 6-4. It was the 18th consecutive singles victory for Liang.

It’s a family affair in Australia for the Kordas. Sebastian’s older sister, professional golfer Jessica, who plays on the LPGA Tour, also won the 2012 Women’s Australian Open at Royal Melbourne.

Korda said he wanted to win the boys title as a birthday present for his father, who turned 50 on Jan. 23.

“Definitely, that was the main goal here, to try to get this tournament for my dad on his 50th birthday. My mom’s birthday is on the fifth of February, so it’s special, as well,” he said.

Korda fell behind in both sets, but used his power to pull back. And he trailed 2-5 in the tiebreaker before reeling off five consecutive points for the decisive lead.

Serving for the match at 5-4 in the second set, Korda utilized his thunderous serve to set up two match points. He only needed one as the scurrying Tseng sent a backhand wide to concede the match.

On his father’s Australian Open victory 20 years ago, he said: “Yeah, I’ve seen his match on YouTube a lot. I watch it maybe once a month, a little bit of motivation.”

Only 12 years old when big sister won her maiden LPGA title, Korda said: “My parents woke me up with them screaming in the kitchen.”

This was Korda’s Australian Open debut after he reached the 2017 French Open boys third round and the second round at Wimbledon. He played only doubles at the U.S. Open.

Ranked seventh in the world at the end of last year, the 17-year-old Liang’s title triumph was retribution for her doubles partner, China’s Wang Xinyu. Burel upset Wang, the top seed, 2-6, 6-1, 6-0 in the semifinals.

The French 16-year-old had eliminated three seeded opponents, including Wang, in her march to the final.

Burel had three break points in the 10th game of the second set, but couldn’t convert them to level the score at 5-all. The title was Liang’s when Burel flew a forehand over the baseline.