Photo: Susan MullaneFilip Peliwo (CAN)
Coping with expectations and rising to the occasion in style, Canada’s Filip Peliwo and American Samantha Crawford were crowned singles champions at the US Open on Sunday with performances that bode well as they make the step up to the senior game.
Second seed Peliwo held off a brave fightback from Britain’s Liam Broady to win 62 26 75 and claim his second successive Grand Slam title, following on from his Wimbledon triumph in July. The unseeded Crawford upset 12th seed Annett Kontaveit of Estonia 75 63 to win her first Grand Slam title.
The 18-year-old Peliwo is the first boy to win back-to-back Wimbledon and US Open titles since Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov in 2008 and is the first since Mark Kratzmann in 1984 to make it to all four Grand Slam finals in the same year.
“It’s a great feeling,” said Peliwo, who showed great resolve in the third set as the left-handed Broady threatened to win his first Grand Slam title.
The Briton, the runner-up at Wimbledon in 2011, had a break point at 4-4 in the decider but Peliwo came up with the goods when he needed them and then broke in the 11th game before serving out for victory.
“I am a lot more relieved now than I was at Wimbledon,” he said. “At Wimbledon it was just excitement; right now I just got a huge weight off my shoulders. I’m just happy I finished the year the way I have.”
With Broady serving eight double faults, Peliwo stormed through the first set and looked on course for a quick win when he led 2-1 with a break and 40-15 on his own serve.
But Broady showed great resolve to break back and as Peliwo’s level dipped, he fought back to level the match and force a decider.
The pair traded breaks at 2-2 in the third and Peliwo then dug deep to save a break point with a forehand winner at 4-4 to stay ahead.
At 5-5, Broady led 40-15 but his 14th double fault cost him and though he saved two break points, the Canadian took his third chance and then served out, falling to his knees after putting a forehand volley away for the winner.
“At Wimbledon last year, I was excited but I was almost happy to be there whereas this year I came here to win the tournament so I am obviously very disappointed,” Broady said. “But if someone had said to me a month ago, you’re going to be in the final of the US Open, I’d have taken it.”
Peliwo said he hoped to make the step up to the men’s game but knew that he would need to be patient. “It’s going to be a huge challenge,” he said. “I have seen a lot of juniors before that have had success at this level and never really translated it onto the pro circuit.
“It’s definitely looking good for me but there are no guarantees. I’m quite confident that I can achieve big success on the pro tour if I just stay healthy and keep working hard.”
Estonia’s Kontaveit went into the girls’ final with more experience at junior level than Crawford and when she led 4-2 in the opening set, it looked like she would go on to take her first Grand Slam title.
A semifinalist at both the French Open and Wimbledon, she had impressed on the way to the final but once Crawford hit back to win the first set, there was only ever going to be one winner.
The American had qualified for the main draw in the women’s event and said that had given her great confidence coming into the junior event.
“I think just qualifying for the main draw was a great experience and being able to play in a bigger situation and being able to pull through matches,” she said.
Crawford has already broken into the world’s top 400 and once she found her range, her greater power and attacking nature proved too much for Kontaveit.
“She came out playing really well and that forced me to try to play better,” Crawford said. “I think as the match went on, I started to play better overall.”
“I was always a player who went for my shots – it’s whether they went in or not that was the problem. I’ve got better and staying in points and being able to set up points and then going for my shots from there.”
Kontaveit said she was unable to contain Crawford's power. “It was either she missed or hit a winner,” she said. “She played so well and it was so hard to break her. She was controlling the match from the beginning. She was just too good.
“My serve was not working that well today but in the week, I played really good tennis and I’m happy with the result. I’ll take a lot of confidence from this because I showed myself I can play good tennis – I beat the world No. 1 (Taylor Townsend, in the quarterfinals).”