Photo: Susan MullanePetros Chryosochos (CYP)
It was a frustrating day around the hallowed grounds of the All England Club on Saturday where only those lucky players scheduled for a match date on Wimbledon’s Centre Court were underway in a timely fashion.
For the juniors, who play on the outer courts around the grounds, many began their match in the early afternoon, but then experienced hours of idleness because of a massive rain delay.
By the time the players were able to return to the courts for play it was already 6pm and bordering on early evening. Many of the matches had already been cancelled, but at least a few were able to finish.
One lucky player to move into the second round was 18-year-old Petros Chrysochos of Cyprus, playing on grass for only the third week in his life. He posted an impressive 46 64 62 upset over fifth seed Quentin Halys of France.
The Cypriot is participating in the 2014 Wimbledon junior competition as one of five boys on the ITF/Grand Slam Development Fund International 18 & Under Touring Team. He also played as part of the ITF/GSDF team at the recent French Open where he reached the round of 16.
“I’m here with the ITF team just like in Paris and without them I wasn’t going to be here,” said Chrysochos, who is currently ranked No. 20. “I’m so glad that I am on the team. It’s an amazing experience.”
This was the second time that Chrysochos encountered Halys this year, having lost to the Frenchman 63 64 at the Australian Open in January.
“I’m so happy,” Chrysochos said. “I knew the match was going to be tough because I played him in the Australian Open quarterfinals and lost. This was my chance to get my revenge. When in Australia he was much more experienced than me and I was very tight. I was choking a lot.
“The difference between Australia and here was that today I looked him in the eyes and I didn’t give up,” Chrysoschos added. “I was always fighting and keeping my serve and showing him I was there.”
It was a difficult day in having to wait out the rain delay and when they came back onto the court, on serve at 2-1 for Halys in the first set, it was hours later.
“It was awful,” said Chrysochos, of having to stop the match. “It was a break of rhthym. Six hours later it’s like a different game, a different opponent.”
Chrysochos believes the Wimbledon crowd was a helpful factor in his closing out the match on a second match point in the final game.
“In the third set I was so pumped,” he said. “The crowd is amazing. I think it’s the best atmosphere of all the Grand Slams, it’s the best one. This is Wimbledon, the biggest tournament in the world.”
If Chrysochos had one minor disappointment about his first-round match it was that his mother, Eirini, missed seeing him play. She arrived in London later than expected on Saturday because of a flight delay.
“But she’ll be here to watch me play on Tuesday,” said Chrysochos, smiling.
Another junior who landed a first round win on Saturday was American Dasha Ivanova, who survived a tough 76(4) 46 62 match over Ye Qui Yu of China.
This was Ivanova’s third junior Grand Slam outing and second here at Wimbledon. Last year she fell in the first round.
After taking the opening set in a tiebreaker, the 17-year-old Ivanova let her guard down and made too many errors to falter in the second set.
“I got a little too rattled and started thinking too much,” said Ivanova, of losing the second set. “My game, my head wasn’t in the game exactly.”
But she knew what she had to do to turn the match in her favour in the third set.
“When I played aggressive she couldn’t really keep up,” Ivanova said. “When I pushed a few balls she would just hit winners off of them. So I had to stay aggressive because that worked the best for me.”
Ivanova also had to wait out the long rain delay and did so by listening to music, watching the World Cup, and relaxing with a few friends.
To the delight of the home crowd, Britain’s own Joshua Sapwell came away with a big upset when he took out third seed Orlando Luz of Brazil 46 63 60.