Golding has the legs to triumph in boys' event

 

Oliver Molding followed in the footsteps of Andy Murray here last night when he became US Open junior champion. The 17-year-old from Richmond upon Thames, who beat the Czech Republic's Jiri Vesely 5-7, 6-3, 6-4 in the final, is the first British boy to win a Grand Slam junior singles title since Murray made his breakthrough here seven years ago.

Golding, a former child actor who has appeared on stage at the Albert Hall and the London Palladium, also follows in the footsteps of several other players who have gone on to enjoy successful senior careers. Andy Roddick, David Nalbandian, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Richard Gasquet all won the junior title here, as did Stefan Edberg and Pat Cash.

Because of last week's rain and his run to the quarter-finals of the doubles event, Golding was playing his eighth match in four days. There have been questions about his fitness in the past, but the Briton looked much the better player in the final set against Vesely, with whom he has enjoyed considerable success as doubles partners.

Golding, who had four points to win the first set, recovered well in the second and made the decisive break in the seventh game of the third. Serving consistently and attacking at every opportunity, the Briton was the more aggressive player and showed no signs of nerves as he closed in on victory.

There had never been three Britons in the quarter-finals of a junior Grand Slam event, but three made it to the last four here. Golding beat George Morgan 6-0, 7-6 in the semi-finals, while Kyle Edmund lost 6-4, 6-2 to Vesely. Golding said: "We drive each other on and it helps having four or five guys you can practise with. We have a good team spirit going. Tennis can sometimes be quite a tough individual game, so it's good to have a couple of guys around in the same boat."

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