On a beautiful sunny Saturday in Paris, they crowned all the 2013 Roland Garros Junior Champions.
It was double duty for 17-year-old Christian Garin of Chile, who was featured in the junior boys’ singles and doubles final.
The unseeded Garin took apart a fatigued Alexander Zverev, the fourth-seed, to win the boys’ single title with an impressive 64 61 win to take the trophy.
“Roland Garros is my favorite tournament,” Garin said. “It's on clay. I feel amazing here in France.”
Only minutes after Garin posted the singles victory, former top 10 star Fernando Gonzalez, the only other Chilean to ever win the boys’ title here, which he did with a 46 64 63 win over Juan Carlos Ferrero of Spain in 1998, tweeted his congratulations to Garin.
Gonzalez also sent a good luck message to Garin and his doubles partner, Nicolas Jarry, also of Chile, who took on Kyle Edmund of Great Britain and Frederico Ferreira Silva of Portugal, in the boys’ doubles final. Unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be that Garin would win both titles on Saturday as Edmund and Silva captured the boys’ doubles 63 63. Jarry’s grandfather Jaime Fillol Sr. is a former top 15 player who won six career titles.
“Fernando is my friend,” Garin said. “We stay together all the time. We have Mathias, another boy from Chile, and we train together and we do a lot of things.”
In 2012, Garin won his previous most significant title of his junior years by taking the Grade 1 Eddie Herr International Junior Championships singles trophy. One week later, Garin won the Grade A Orange Bowl International Tennis Championship doubles trophy. He also won five Grade 1 doubles trophies in 2012.
Garin was the player on court with the better strategy, fresher legs, and heavier and more precise ball striking.
“I was a little tired,” said Zverev, after the defeat. “I had many tough matches and I think that was the difference today. For me, after a couple of games or after the first set, I was done.
“I think I did pretty good here even thought I lost the finals. I don’t think it was that bad.”
In the final, Garin broke Zverev’s serve in the fourth game of the first set compliments of the German sailing a backhand wide at 15-40.
Set up to serve for the first set at 5-3, Garin played a nervous game, failing to take advantage of two set points. At deuce, Zverev put in his best showing of the entire match when he hit a forehand winner followed by a backhand winner to break Garin’s serve.
“He play very aggressive that points, and I think I was a little (nervous), and then I lost the game,” Garin said. “I said, I can't lose this set, because I want to win.”
Serving at 4-5, Zverev couldn’t put the first set on even footing and at 15-40 double faulted to hand Garin the opening set.
In the second set, Garin saved one break point in the opening game, then took a 2-0 lead by breaking Zverev’s serve in the next game. Garin broke Zverev’s serve again to position himself at 5-1 to serve for the match.
This time around Garin wasn’t nervous to serve out a set to grab the trophy. He served it out at love and then covered his face with his hands, looking almost surprised at the outcome.
Joining Garin in the winner’s circle was second-seeded Belinda Bencic of Switzerland, who captured a 61 63 victory over fifth-seeded Antonia Lottner of Germany.
It's a real incredible feeling,” said Bencic, of winning a Grand Slam trophy. “After the match point it was just I didn't realize it yet, so I'm just going to enjoy the day.”
Bencic is coached by her father, Ivan, but also works with Melanie Molitor, the mother of Martina Hingis, since she was six-years-old. The combination seems to be a winning formula for Bencic, who started playing tennis at age 3.
Molitor wasn’t in attendance, but Bencic already had been in touch with her by phone.
Her mother wasn’t here, but Hingis was and she was courtside to watch Bencic follow her path to winning the Roland Garros junior title. Hingis won the junior girls’ title here in 1993 and 1994.
“She (Hingis) congratulate me and she was very happy for me,” Bencic said. “She give me a lot of tips during the tournament. So, yeah, I'm very thankful for that that she have time to watch my matches.”
Bencic was on top of her game in the first set, never allowing an opening for Lottner to make a statement.
However, in the second set, Bencic initially appeared to be in trouble as Lottner cruised to a 3-0 lead. But Lottner’s second set luck was not to continue as Bencic returned to form to win the final six games of the match.
“It wasn’t my day today, but Belinda played pretty good, but it was still a good tournament for me,” Lottner said. “I started really nervous and was trying not to think it was the final, to just think it’s another match, but it’s pretty hard.”
Bencic arrived at Roland Garros brimming with confidence having won two important titles already this year. In May, she won the Grade 1 Torneo Citta Di Santa Croce and Grade A Trofeo Bonfiglio titles ahead of her Roland Garros victory.
In the girls’ doubles, the Czech team of Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova won the Roland Garros title with a 75 62 victory over Domenica Gonzalez of Ecuador and Beatriz Haddad Maia of Brazil.
It was a first Grand Slam title for both Krejcikova and Siniakova. It was not their first venture in a Grand Slam junior final: Siniakova was a singles finalist at this year’s Australian Open and Krejcikova was a doubles finalist at this year’s Australian Open.
“I think it means so much, it’s very cool, it’s an amazing feeling when you win a tournament,” said Siniakova, speaking for the team. “And when it’s here in Paris, on the clay, it’s so tough to win and I think we did a great job.”
It was the second Grand Slam victory for Edmund and Silva, who also won the 2012 U.S. Open title.
“We were really happy because it was a great tournament for us,” Silva said. “We didn’t start that well and had match points down in the first round and then started playing better. It’s been great and we also won the U.S. Open together and it’s really great to win here as well.”