The four finalists in the junior events were decided on Friday as Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic and American Taylor Townsend set up a clash for the girls’ crown and Gianliugi Quinzi of Italy won through to a meeting with Korea’s Hyeon Chung for the boys’ title.
The 16-year-old Bencic took her winning streak to 34 matches with a fine 60 63 win over Louisa Chirico of the United States while former world No 1 Townsend clinched a surprise 26 75 75 win over No 2 seed Ana Konjuh of Croatia.
Bencic was watched by Martina Hingis, whose mother, Melanie Molitor, has been the Swiss’s coach since she four years old. Taking the ball early and dictating play from the start, she never allowed Chirico, a semi-finalist in the French Open last month, the chance to get a foothold in the match.
“I made the break to 3-2 (in the second set) and then couldn’t hold my serve, but it was the only service game I lost,” Bencic said. “Even though it was 60 63, I think it was a tight match from the beginning to the end and a very high level. I am very excited to be in the final and it’s on Court 1 so it should be really exciting.”
Like Hingis, who won the junior title here in 1994 and the senior title three years later, Bencic likes to take the ball early, denying her opponents time to play their game. “She (Molitor) taught me that from when I was really small and I think it’s a good advantage for me against my opponents, because I play a little bit different,” Bencic said.
In the final, the Swiss will play the left-handed Townsend, who caused something of a shock when she upended Konjuh, who won the Australian Open junior title at the start of the year.
Serving and volleying stylishly and effectively, the former world No 1 was outplayed by the hard-hitting Konjuh in the first set but recovered well to win two tight sets to reach the final for the first time.
Bencic said she expected a tough final. “I played Taylor twice, in the French Open and Roehampton,” she said. “She has a different game to the others and she’s not an easy opponent. We always had tough matches.”
In the boys’ event, Quinzi ruined British hopes of a first champion in the event since 1962 when he edged out Kyle Edmund 64 64. A 13-minute eighth game in the first set proved crucial as the Italian held it, before closing out the set a couple of games later.
The second set was just as close as Edmund fought hard in front of his home crowd but the left-handed Quinzi held on to reach his first junior grand slam final, having lost in the semi-finals 12 months ago.
“I was a little bit nervous because it was so crowded,” Quinzi said.
“I knew what I had to do in the match. We played unbelievable tennis and tactically I played unbelievable. I am so happy to be in my first big junior final and I hope I can win it.”
Quinzi beat Chung when they played on grass but the Italian knows he needs to be on his game after the Korean, who ousted No 1 seed Nick Kyrgios earlier in the event, beat Germany’s Maximilian Marterer 67 61
63 to reach his first slam final.
“It feels more like a dream than reality at the moment,” Chung said.
“I am just going do to the same things, not change anything. He is probably more experienced than me. I need to make sure my mentality is good.”