Photo: Paul ZimmerJil Teichmann (SUI)/Jan Zielinski (POL)
Switzerland's Jill Teichmann and Poland's Jan Zielinski defeated China’s Ye Qiu Yu and Japan’s Jumpei Yamasaki 46 63 10-4 to claim mixed doubles gold at the Youth Olympic Tennis Event in Nanjing.
“I couldn’t ask for a better partner,” beamed a delighted Zielinski. “I asked her like five months ago. I was so happy when she said yes.
“I’m happy that someone like this asked me,” added Teichmann with a huge grin.
While Sunday’s earlier gold medal matches had been completed outside, a late-night mixed doubles final had to be played under the roof on the indoor courts at Nanjing’s Tennis Academy of China due to persistent showers.
The late start and change in conditions didn’t appear to bother either pair, but it was the Chinese-Japanese duo who made the first indent on serve after a fiercely fought opening eight games.
They ultimately clinched the opening set’s decisive break in the ninth game when at 30-40 Yamasaki, sensing Teichmann off her guard at the net, drilled a bullet-force forehand that the Swiss did well simply to get a racket on, even if it didn’t connect with enough of the string face to make it back over the net.
Matsumura rattled through his serve in the very next game to give himself, and home hope Ye, the cushion of the first set.
Ye and Yamasaki carried that momentum into the second, immediately breaking Zielinski’s serve for the second time before holding for a 2-0 lead. But then, somewhat inevitably in the face of mounting pressure, it was Ye’s turn to crack.
The Chinese player lost her nerve on serve and in the blink of an eye the Swiss-Polish duo were 3-2 ahead. It was a similar story four games later, with Ye dropping serve before Zielinski confidently closed out the set.
The ensuing tie-break, a real nail-biter for the home fans cheering for Ye, soon swung Teichmann and Zielinski's way. The pair pulled up a 9-4 lead, and closed out a memorable triumph on a deft Zielinski drop shot.