A new Jewish tennis star is on the rise. Sean Berman, 17, a wildcard entry into the Australian Open junior boys’ tournament in Melbourne last week, came within a heartbeat of walking away with the title.
He blitzed through the draw, dispatching four seeds en route to a showdown against Brazil’s Tiago Fernandes, seeded 14th.
But the South-African born, New Zealand-raised player, who now lives in Australia, was defeated 7-5, 6-3 by Fernandes in the final.
“I’m very disappointed,” Berman said after the match. “But I played a very good match and that’s all I can do. I had my chances and maybe could have been slightly more aggressive.”
The 14th seed raced to a 3-0 lead in the second set but at 5-3 on the Fernandes serve, Berman had another three break points.
Berman only converted two of his nine break point opportunities in the match while Fernandes won four of his eight chances.
“It was a very good experience,” Berman added. “It gives me a lot of confidence for the rest of the year.”
Israel’s Shahar Peer, who won the Australian Open girls’ junior title in 2004, has risen seven places to 22 in the WTA rankings.