05 Jul 2014

Wimbledon Finals set for Sunday


NEWS ARTICLE

By  Sandra Harwitt

Photo: Gill ElliottJelena Ostapenko (LAT)

The week at Wimbledon is now down to the final day of action ahead and the girls’ final will be an all-European encounter, while the boys’ competition will be an all-American affair.

The boys’ final will be contested between sixth-seeded Stefan Kozlov and Noah Rubin. This will be Kozlov’s second Grand Slam final having reached that round at the Australian Open in January. This is Rubin’s first Grand Slam final with his best previous Grand Slam performance reaching the 2012 Roland Garros quarterfinal.

For unseeded Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia it will be a second straight week that she’ll have the opportunity to upset the eighth-seeded Kristina Schmiedlova of Slovakia. The two played in the final at Roehampton prior to coming to Wimbledon and Ostapenko won that match 62 63.

Ostapenko earned her Wimbledon final berth with a 61 62 semifinal victory over 12th-seeded Marketa Vondrousova of Czech Republic in a match that took all of 48-minutes.

“I think she’s a really good player,” said Ostapenko, of Schmiedlova. “I think if I play my best game than I have chances to win. I won the Roehampton match, but it was not really an easy match. I had to focus for every point because she’s quite a good player.”

Schmiedlova had a tougher battle to oust Elena Gabriela Ruse of Romania 46 63 64 in the other semifinal that lasted one hour, 53-minutes.

It’s amazing. I wasn’t expecting this before Wimbledon,” Schmiedlova said. “I played her last week in the final. She’s a very aggressive player. But I believe in myself so I hope I will win tomorrow. It’s the final, we both will be nervous, but I hope I will win.”

Playing on grass is a natural fit for Ostapenko, who enjoys playing a speedy match and cutting off points quickly. In her mind that’s the reason she’s gone through this week at Wimbledon with impressive results.

In Ostapenko’s last three matches she’s had the better of three seeded players. In the third round she defeated ninth-seeded Anhelina Kalinina of Ukraine 62 62. In the quarterfinals she upset third-seeded Tornado Alicia Black of USA 63 61. And then on Saturday she took out Vondrousova in the semis.

“I feel really comfortable because the grass is a quite fast surface and I think for me that is good,” Ostapenko said. “I can serve really well and I play aggressive, it’s my style. So maybe it’s easier for me to win here than for the others. Every match was tough, but I try my best to focus on every point. On the grass sometimes you have to go to the net and finish the point.”

In the first game of the match against Vondrousova, Ostapenko dropped her serve, but then won the next 10 games for a 61 40 lead. Even though Vondrousova won the next two games she never was able to work herself into the match.

A confident 17-year-old, who’s only lost one set here this week, Ostapenko believes she is capable of winning her first Grand Slam title at Wimbledon on Sunday.

“I feel really happy that I can play the finals here,” Ostepanko said. “I will try my best in the finals.”

As for Schmiedlova, she admitted that on Saturday she was starting to feel the effects of playing the past two weeks.

Schmiedlova fell behind 4-2 in the first set of her match and couldn’t recover in that set. But she settled into the match in the second set by taking a commanding 5-1 lead. And from 3-3 in the third set Schmiedlova won three of the final four games in the match.

“Today I was very tired, because I played the tournament last week,” Schmieldova said.  “My arm hurts, both legs also hurt, but I’m very very happy that I won, because Gabby’s a very good player.”

The boys’ final will not only be between two Americans, but between two good friends.

As Rubin said following his 64 62 semifinal win over fellow American Taylor Fritz, he and Kozlov are “very good friends.”

“We’re close,” Rubin said. “We actually room together every tournament. Stefan is pretty good to room with. The best part of rooming with Stefan is you don’t get bored. Good or bad, you’re never bored.”

Kozlov, who defeated eighth-seeded Johan Sebastien Tatlot of France 63 76(7) was amused about Rubin’s comment on their rooming together. Kozlov laughingly said of their relationship: “We’re pretty good friends. We have a unique bond.”

The last time two American boys’ vied for the Wimbledon title was 1977 when Van Winitsky defeated Eliot Teltscher to take the trophy home.

Rubin’s match was halted at 5-1 in the second set because of rain, which wasn’t the ideal time to have to go back to the locker room to wait. But he came back and two games later found himself into the finals.

“I never really come in with expectations and I just hope to play every match to the fullest,” Rubin said. “It’s nice to be here, of course.”

While Rubin was chatty and joking in his post-match press conference, Kozlov came off the court with his game face on and was anticipating keeping in that mode until after the final. Kozlov’s feeling is that his experience in the Australian Open earlier in the year could benefit him in this Wimbledon final.

“I think it’s going to help me a lot tomorrow,” Kozlov said. “I think I’m going to handle the pressure and everything better.” 

Kozlov controlled the first set from the outset when he raced to a 4-1 lead. Although he surrendered his serve in the seventh game he never gave up the advantage in the set.

The second set was much closer with each player holding onto their service games. In the tiebreaker, Tatlot pushed ahead 31 but wasn’t able to keep the momentum going to stretch the match into a third set. Kozlov closed out the match on a third match point in the tiebreaker.

Kozlov is also into the boys’ doubles final as the top seeded team with Andrey Rublev of Russia. The duo defeated the seventh-seeded team of Petros Chrysochos of Cyprus and Nino Serdarusic of Croatia 62 75.

Kozlov and Rublev will play the third-seeded Orlando Luz and Marcelo Zormann of Brazil, who won their semifinal 63 57 62 over Naoki Nakagawa of Japan and Tim Van Rijthoven of the Netherlands.

The girls’ doubles final will feature two unseeded teams with Tami Grende of Indonesia and Ye Qui Yu of China squaring off against Marie Bouzkova of Czech Republic and Dalma Galfi of Hungary.

The Grende and Ye team defeated Usue Maitane Arconada of the USA and Fanny Stollar of Hungary 57 63 74 in one semifinal.

Bouzkova and Galfi upset the second-seeded Priscilla Hon of Australia and Jil Belen Teichmann of Switzerland 61 46 97.

Grende and Chrysochos are playing here at Wimbledon as part of the ITF/Grand Slam Development Fund 18 & Under Touring Team.



Photos

  • Jelena Ostapenko (LAT)Stefan Kozlov (USA)
  • Marketa Vondrousova (CZE)Taylor Fritz (USA)

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