Gabrielle Andrews and Taylor Townsend (USA), Petra Uberalova (SVK) and Belinda Bencic (SUI)
A Canadian, a Briton, an American and an Estonian will battle it out for singles honours in the junior events on Sunday after taking on the remnants of a Tornado and coming out the other side unscathed on a wild semi-final day at the US Open.
Gusting, swirling wind made life horrific for all players and it was always going to be a survival of the calmest and when the storm finally died down, Filip Peliwo, Liam Broady, Anett Kontaveit and Samantha Crawford were the ones left standing.
Peliwo’s 64 60 win over Yoshihito Nishioka of Japan took him into his fourth straight junior grand slam final, a phenomenal achievement and the first boy to achieve the feat since Mark Kratzmann in 1984.
Having lost in the final at both the Australian Open and the French Open, Peliwo won Wimbledon and showed great maturity in the wind to come through what might have been a difficult task.
“I’m really happy with how I handled the conditions,” the Canadian said. “I played smart. It was more of a mental match rather than who could hit it harder and play better shots. The wind kind of equalised it a bit, power wise, so I had to play a smart match.”
“For sure, it’s a big achievement for me and it’s kind of widening the gap between me and Kimmer (to end the year as No 1), which is always nice.
“But I’m here to win and I’m going to try to win the final. It’s definitely satisfying to make the final but it’ll be a lot more satisfying to win. I know it’s been a tough week but things are starting to look good and I’m playing well so I’m going to try to take one more win and finish the year well.”
British left-hander Broady will be playing his second grand slam final, having finished as runner-up at Wimbledon last summer. The 18-year-old saw off Japanese eighth seed Kaichi Uchida 61 61 in a superb performance in the appalling conditions.
“Uchida’s a fantastic player and he beat the No 1 seed 61 64 in the previous round but the wind shows people’s weaknesses and I think today suited me,” Broady said.
“This entire week has been incredibly tough physically. I was cramping in the last 16, in the quarters I was absolutely knackered. Today, maybe he was happy with what he’d done already but I want to win the tournament.”
Broady beat Peliwo in the semi-finals of the Canadian Open last week and said he was confident he could win the title, following on from the victory in New York by another Briton, Oli Golding, 12 months ago.
“I’m looking forward to it and it feels a lot different to how it did at Wimbledon,” he said. “I’m a lot less nervous, which hopefully is a good thing and I feel very much at home. He’s a very good player but hopefully I can pull something out.”
“He’s sent me a couple of messages on Twitter saying to keep the title British,” Broady said. “It’s good to get his support because we’re good friends and we played doubles sometimes. Hopefully I can do it this year and maybe someone like Kyle (Edmund) or Luke (Bambridge) can do it next year too.”
The girls’ final will be between Kontaveit of Estonia and American Crawford. Kontaveit, who has been the most consistent player of the tournament, ended the run of another American Victoria Duval 62 76 while Crawford upset fourth seed Antonia Lottner of Germany 36 61 62.
Kontaveit reached the semi-finals at both the French Open and Wimbledon and was understandably delighted to go one round better, even if the title remains her obvious aim.
“I don’t really like to play with the wind but I managed to play really well,” the Estonian said. “I got used to the conditions and I was really pleased with the way I played.”
Kontaveit said she knew little about Crawford but anyone who has watched her this week knows how dangerous a competitor she can be. Having lost a tight battle to Laura Robson in the first round of the women’s event, her confidence is clearly high and she recovered well to beat Lottner.
“She’s a really strong player,” said Kontaveit, who won the Orange Bowl last year. “I’ve never played against her before but I hope my experience helps me.”
World number one Taylor Townsend earned a third grand slam doubles crown this year as she and Gabby Andrews, the fourth seeds, beat second seeds Belinda Bencic and Petra Uberalova of the Czech Republic 64 63.
Townsend won the Wimbledon and Australian Open doubles titles earlier this year, as well as the singles title in Melbourne and her doubles victory made up a little for her defeat by Kontaveit in the quarter-finals of the singles.
And Kyle Edmund of Great Britain and Frederico Ferreira Silva of Portugal collected their first doubles crown with a 57 64 106 win over Australia’s Nick Kyrgios and Jordan Thompson.
Krygios had been chasing his third straight grand slam doubles title but Edmund and Silva came from behind to win the tiebreak and snatch glory.