07 Jul 2012

Maple Leaf magic for Bouchard

News Article

Photo: Susan MullaneEugenie Bouchard (CAN) 2012 Junior Wimbledon Girls Singles Champion

Eugenie Bouchard became the first Canadian citizen to win a junior Grand Slam singles title at Wimbledon.

The 18-year-old Bouchard controlled the final during her 6-2, 6-2 victory over the third-seeded Elina Svitolina of Ukraine.

“It was really exciting,” said the fifth-seeded Bouchard. “I was really focused on the court and I really believed that I could do it. I’m really happy to have pulled through and I guess make Canada proud and, hopefully, continue with more success like this.”

Court 1 was packed with spectators, which was a new experience for Bouchard.

“When I walked on court, I was surprised how full it was,” Bouchard said. “Then when they clapped it was much louder than I expected, as well. I was like, ‘Oh my God. This bigger than I thought.’ It was really cool.”

Bouchard works at different times of the year with Frenchwoman Nathalie Tauziat, a former Wimbledon finalist.

“It’s good to be able to work with her,” Bouchard said. “It’s good because she’s been there. Obviously she got to three in the world. She knows exactly what I’m going through on court, and she helps me mentally with that.

“She got the finals of Wimbledon, so I can say, I did better than you, I won. She doesn’t like that.”

Bouchard had reached two previous junior semifinals and was determined to do better this time around. The fifth-seeded Bouchard is playing her last year in the juniors and desperately wanted to finish with a trophy.

Upon winning, Bouchard was all smiles and made sure to kiss the silver cup when presented with the trophy.

In the opening set, Bouchard took a 2-0 lead, but then Svitolina recouped the service break to even the score at 2-2. From that point, it was Bouchard who won the next six games for a 62 20 lead in the match.

Bouchard lost her serve in the third game of the first set at love on the only break point opportunity she presented to Svitolina. In her other three games in the first set she only lost four points.

In the second set, Bouchard only lost four points in four service games. She won her final two serves at love in the 61-minute match that was initially delayed by rain.

“When match point happened I was a little bit surprised,” she said. “I didn’t even scream. I was like, ‘Oh my God, it’s over.’”

Svitolina had only five winners in the match to 21 for the Canadian.

The 17-year-old Svitolina, who won the 2010 Roland Garros junior girls’ title, kept playing to Bouchard’s forehand, which is the Canadian’s strength. It was an ill-conceived strategy for the Ukrainian, who last played a Grand Slam junior tournament before this Wimbledon at the 2010 U.S. Open.

Bouchard only played two seeds en route to the title: 11th-seeded Anett Kontaveit of Estonia in the semifinals and Svitolina.

On Sunday, fourth-seeded Filip Peliwo will be in position to make Wimbledon an all-Canadian affair in the junior singles competition.

This is Peliwo’s third consecutive junior boys’ final this season. He will play top-seeded Luke Saville of Australia, the Wimbledon junior boys’ defendin champion. Peliwo lost to Saville in this year’s Australian Open final.

As for Bouchard, her Wimbledon is not quite over. The defending champion in girls’ doubles -- she played with American Grace Min in 2011 -- she will be back on court on Sunday with Taylor Townsend for the final. The top seeds, they will square off against seventh seeds Belinda Bencic and Ana Konjuh.