Photo: Susan MullaneFilip Peliwo (CAN)
Filip Peliwo, Kimmer Coppejans, Annika Beck and Anna Schmiedlova all moved to within one win of grand slam glory on Friday as they booked their places in the finals of the French Open junior events.
For Canada’s Peliwo, it will be a chance to avenge his defeat in the final of the Australian Open in January; for the other three, Sunday’s finals will be their first opportunity to grab one of the sport’s biggest prizes.
Peliwo was staring defeat in the face when Adam Pavlasek served for the match late in the second set but as the Czech’s nerve failed him, the Canadian hit back. Going for his returns, the 18-year-old snatched the second set on a tiebreak and then ran away with the third to record a 26 76 60 victory.
Having gone so close in Australia, Peliwo said he hoped the experience of that day would help him when he takes on Coppejans of Belgium. “In Australia I was thinking about it as a huge occasion and that I would have to play really, really well to win,” he said.
“Honestly, it’s just about playing a little bit better than my opponent. I think since Kimmer hasn’t been in the final before, he might be a bit nervous and shaky at the beginning. I’ll try to jump on that and see it through. I’ve got to get this one. It would feel pretty bad if I lost two in a row. I think I can do it. I think I’m going to be ready. I’ll give it my best and hopefully it’s going to be enough.”
Coppejans ended the hopes of the last American in either event as he beat eighth seed Mitchell Krueger 63 75 but could hardly believe he had reached the final. At the start of the week, I just wanted to do better than the third round, which was my best achievement in a slam. Now I am sitting here before the final, it’s awesome.”
The girls’ final will be between German second seed Beck, who has cruised through without losing a set and unseeded Schmiedlova of the Slovak Republic, who won three matches in three sets before Friday’s 75 61 win over another German, Antonia Lottner.
“It’s a great feeling,” Beck said after beating Estonia’s Anna Kontaveit 63 63. “Starting as the No 2 seed, I felt a bit of pressure at the beginning but at the end it was just having fun and it’s such a good feeling. I was a bit nervous but not as much as before the quarter-final. You just have to try to handle it.”
Beck said she and Schmiedlova last played two years ago and that she expects a tough final. “She’s a bit like me, she is very quick and moves well,” she said. “She hits the ball well and serves well. I think it will just be about who is better on the day.”
Schmiedlova took out top seed Taylor Townsend in the third round and yesterday was too solid for the 15-year-old Lottner. “I still don’t understand being in the final,” she said. “It’s amazing - I had never been in a semi-final, even. I was maybe a little more nervous yesterday, because I really wanted to be in the semi-final; today I was nervous from the beginning but the second set was really good and I am really happy.”
Pavlasek gave himself something to look forward to when he and fellow Czech Vaclav Safranek reached the final of the boys’ doubles, where they will play the Australian pair of Andrew Harris and Nick Krygios.
Saturday’s girls’ final will see Russian No 2 seeds Daria Gavrilova and Irina Khromacheva take on Montserrat Gonzalez of France and Beatriz Haddad Maia of Brazil.