New Zealand junior tennis player Finn Reynolds and his Portuguese doubles partner Durate Vale have been pipped for the boys doubles title at the Australian Open.
Reynolds a 17-year-old left-hander from the Hawkes Bay and Vale were beaten by the fourth seeds Yu Hsiou Hsu (Taipei) and Lingxi Zhao (China) 7-6(8) 4-6 5-10 in one hour 28 minutes in a match which was very much anyone's for the taking.
Despite the loss the scratch Kiwi and Portuguese combination can be pleased with their effort with wins over the third and first seeded teams to make the final.
"I'm extremely disappointed we didn't get the win today but our opponents put us under pressure I think in the super tiebreak they didn't make an error…they served well and played extra well. It was still a great match," said Reynolds. "Me and Duarte just got on so well. We had really good week. It would have been great to finish the tournament with win but it's been and extremely positive week for us."
Reynolds also praised his coach, Marcel Vos and Tennis NZ's targeted athlete programme which he said had enabled him to play in tournaments such as the Australian Open and he made special mention of his family.
"It's been great playing here with the support of my family and friends and even some of my cousins have flown all the way here to Melbourne to support me. I couldn't have done this without them."
As for the future Reynolds who entered the tournament as one of the last direct entries into the singles draw is looking for more success now he's experienced his first junior Grand Slam.
"I always knew I could play pretty decent doubles. I just want to take some of that into my singles as well and hopefully get my ranking up and take that into more Grand Slam and hopefully play with Duarate more as well. Hopefully plenty more of these in the future and hopefully go one better in the future one day."
Meanwhile Vale was happy with their performance overall and gave his Kiwi partner a lot of credit for their results.
"We play so well as a team and get on so well. It's been a great week, we've had fun and I think New Zealand should be proud of the player they have in Finn."
The first set of the final was neck and neck until Reynolds and Vale gained the upper hand in the tiebreak racing to a 4-0 lead, however this was quickly chipped away by their Taipei and Chinese opponents. Eventually the unseeded pair held on and gained from a line call going their way to take the first set tie break 10-8.
In the second set Duarte was broken in the first game and the pair were always the one break behind as they lost the set 4-6.
The super tiebreak had Hsu and Zhao not making any errors and combining well and Reynolds and Vale played a couple of loose shots and the match slipped away 5-10.
The last time a New Zealand male was in a junior Grand Slam doubles final was 1993 with Steve Downs and James Greenhalgh won the title at the Wimbledon juniors. Later the same year Downs made the US Open Junior singles final before losing to Marcelo Rios in the title match.