Photo: Susan MullaneFilip Peliwo (CAN)
In an unprecedented scenario in the junior competition at Wimbledon, it was Canada who came away with two new Grand Slam titleists.
Before this Wimbledon, no Canadian had ever won a Grand Slam junior title. Now in two days both the boy’s and girls’ trophy went to Canadian citizens.
On Saturday, fifth-seeded Eugenie Bouchard captured the girls’ tournament with a 62 62 win over third-seeded Elina Svitolina of Ukraine.
The fourth-seeded Filip Peliwo followed Bouchard’s footsteps to the winner’s circle on Sunday. Peliwo took out top-seeded and defending champion Luke Saville of Australia 75 64.
“I won’t say jealous of her, but that made me even more hungry, the fact that she got it,” said Peliwo, of the influence of Bouchard’s victory the day before. “I just wanted to have the same feeling for myself and for Canada, to be able to win the slam.
“I knew it would be a great achievement if both girls’ and boys’ champions would be Canadians. That really inspired me.”
In fact, Canada leaves Wimbledon with three junior titles. Bouchard returned to the court in the doubles on Sunday with American partner, Taylor Townsend. The top seeds secured a 64 63 win over seventh seeds Velinda Bencic of Switzerland and Ana Konjuh of Croatia.
Bouchard won the doubles title last year with American Grace Min.
“C’mon this can’t go three sets because we need time to get ready,” said Bouchard, of motivation to finish the doubles in two sets so that they could have time to get ready for the the formal Wimbledon Ball on Sunday night.
Peliwo was so excited to take the trophy after being in all three Grand Slam junior finals this season, that he couldn’t stop smiling. And then after the trophy presentation, he took a victory lap with the cup, showing it to everyone in Court 1.
An ace right down the middle finished the day in winning style for the 18-year-old from Vancouver, who moved a few years ago to train in Montreal. He pumped his fist, repeatedly, almost in disbelief that he had finally taken the title.
“That’s exactly how I wanted to finish it,” Peliwo said “Honestly, right now it’s still sinking in, so I can’t believe exactly what happened.”
Peliwo hardly looked like he was in winning form at the outset of the one hour, 33 minute match. He was behind 5-2 in the first set before winning the next five games to take the set. He was behind 3-1 in the second set before he bounced back for a two-set win.
“Guys know that I fight no matter how far down I am,” Peliwo said, who saved five match points against American Mitchell Krueger in the semifinals. “It’s really worked for me in many situations. So, honestly, even if I don’t believe I’m going to win the match, I’m going to give my absolute best to win every point one point at a time.”
Peliwo lost in the final of the Australian Open to Saville, and then at Roland Garros to Kimmer Coppejans of Belgium.
“The two previous finals I’ve lost, those are the biggest inspirations as well,” Peliwo said. “I didn’t want to lose again, but I wasn’t letting it get to my head. I was just thinking about the match, not the past.”
Fourth-seeded Australians Andrew Harris and Nick Kyrgios took their second consecutive Grand Slam junior title. Harris and Kyrgios, who won at Roland Garros, claimed a 62 64 over unseeded Matteo Donati and Pietro Licciardi of Italy.