10 Sep 2017

Anisimova & Wu win US Open juniors trophies

News Article

By Rene Denfeld

Photo: Arata YamaokaYibing Wu (CHN)

Amanda Anisimova of the USA and Yibing Wu of China emerged victorious in the Girls' and Boys' Junior events at the US Open.

Anisimova defeated compatriot Cori Gauff, the youngest girls' finalist in US Open history, in straight sets with a 62 60 triumph. Wu managed to upset Argentinian top seed Axel Geller 64 64, thus sweeping singles as well as doubles to become the first male junior Slam champion of his country.

If yesterday's all-American showdown between Sloane Stephens and Madison Keys was a snapshot of the current state of American tennis, today's girls’ singles finals between Anisimova and Gauff provided a glimpse into the promising future of the host nation.

At the end, however, it was the experience of 16-year-old Anisimova that proved to be too overwhelming for Gauff - even if the final game of the 62 60 contest was as dramatic and hard-fought as possible.

"That last game was crazy. Possibly the longest game of my life", said Anisimova, the 2016 Roland Garros girls' runner-up, smiling, after winning her first Grand Slam title.

Anisimova converted her 10th Championship point after a forehand from Gauff sailed beyond the baseline. The 16-year-old made her main draw Slam debut at Roland Garros a few months ago and cites this year's experiences on the pro tour as one of the main reasons for her development.

"I think my mind kind of changed,” Anisimova said. “You know, I started focusing more and acting more like a professional. Everything is so different up there. I think that prepared me a lot for this junior slam, because before last year I don't think I was as good as I am now.”

Despite the loss, it was a strong showing for the 13-year-old Gauff, who entered the event with a wild card and didn't lose a set in the lead up to the finals, and a week to remember.

"Every single part of it was so much fun, being on-site, being here, being -- just being at the US Open in New York was the most fun. I enjoyed every single part being here," Gauff explained after the finals.

Both Americans kept an eye on Florida while competing for the title at the US Open with Hurricane Irma wreaking havoc over the Sunshine State this weekend.

"It's really bad in Florida,” Animisova said. “I'm really praying for everyone there. My mom had to evacuate my grandma to go to a different state. It's pretty upsetting that she couldn't be here with me, but I was also fighting and trying to win it for her, too.”

Anisimova will next head to Budapest for the Junior Fed Cup by BNP Paribas with Whitney Osuigue and Caty McNally and Coach Erik Kortland. She plans to reach the Top 150 in the WTA rankings by the end of this year - this was her final Grand Slam playing juniors.

On the boys’ side, China's Yibing Wu upset top seed Axel Geller from Argentina in straight sets. Just like in the girls' singles, closing out the match and tournament win didn't go without a hitch. Wu had a 5-2 lead in the second set, but found himself surrendering one of his two breaks after being unable to convert six championship points.

"That was tough. My hand was shaking,” Wu said. “Only thing I can do is try to recover after that. I think I (was) doing well in the second service game, yeah.”

On his seventh attempt, the 17-year-old eventually closed out the match after a forehand by Geller landed in the tramlines.

“At 4-4 in the first set I just lost a little bit of focus and then for 20 minutes, I lost six games in a row and I lost the match," Geller analysed his rough patch in the middle. “I tried to fight back, I was close, but I think it maybe was a little bit too late.”

Wu hit a total of 31 winners and kept the big serving Argentinian at bay despite feeling tired early in the match.

"Actually, I'm a little bit tired from the doubles,” Wu said. “Yeah. [I just wanted to do my best and let's see. My opponent has a really, really good serve. So I just broke the return and try to hit more rallies."

As a result of his win in New York, Wu will become the new world No. 1 while Geller jumps up to No. 2.

Wu didn't just take home the singles trophy, he also conquered the doubles together with Yu-Hsiou Hsu of Chinese Taipei, defeating Toru Horie and Yuta Shimizu of Japan 64 57 [11-9] on Saturday evening.

As such, the 17-year-old became the first Chinese player to win any Junior Grand Slam title on the boys' side and hopes to follow in the footsteps of many of his female compatriots.

"Yeah, I think this is showing us, and showing the world Chinese boys can be good," the 17-year-old said with a smile.

The Girls' Doubles US Open was won by Olga Danilovic of Serbia and Ukraine's Marta Kostyuk. The top seeds defeated Lea Boskovic of Croatia and Xiyu Wang of China 61 75, saving three set points in the second set. Both Danilovic and Kostyuk are planning to stop competing in junior events at Slams after this US Open.

"It's actually good to win something and finish because then you have good memories," Kostyuk said. The Ukrainian won the Australian Open girls' singles event earlier this year. Danilovic lifted the girls’ doubles trophies at the French Open and Wimbledon this year.