It's a sweep for Canada in the junior finals at Wimbledon
Published Sunday, July 8, 2012 11:07AM EDT
Last Updated Sunday, July 8, 2012 4:00PM EDT
Teenaged tennis stars Filip Peliwo and Eugenie Bouchard made history over the weekend with a clean sweep for Canada in the Wimbledon junior singles finals.
Bouchard, an 18-year-old from Westmount Que., netted the first win with a 6-2, 6-2 victory over Ukrainian Elina Svitolina in the junior girls’ final Saturday.
Bouchard also added a second victory in the girls' doubles on Sunday, playing alongside Taylor Townsend of the U.S. to defeat Switzerland's Belinda Bencic and Croatia's Ana Konjuh 6-4, 6-3.
Not to be outdone, Filip Peliwo, an 18-year-old from Vancouver, added his own victory in the boys’ junior singles finals when he defeated Australia's Luke Saville 7-5, 6-4 on Sunday.
Speaking to reporters after his victory, Peliwo said he was inspired by Bouchard’s big win.
"I wasn't jealous of her title, but it made me ever more hungry, I wanted to have the same feeling for myself and for Canada. I knew it would be a great achievement if we were both champions," Peliwo told The Canadian Press. "The two previous finals that I lost were also a big inspiration, I didn't want to lose again but (I) was not letting it get to my head."
Peliwo made it to the final of the French Open, but lost, and also came close to victory at the Australian Open in January. He lost that final to Saville.
In their re-match Sunday, Peliwo’s win was hard-fought. He started the first set trailing 2-5, but came back to win the set in 51 minutes.
He also trailed Saville in the second, coming back from 3-1 to win the set.
"That's exactly how I wanted to finish it," Peliwo told The Canadian Press. "I was happy I battled back in the first set, gave myself a winning chance and took it on my first match point."
For Bouchard, the singles win marked her best junior showing to-date.
Bouchard’s berth in the Grand Slam junior singles final also marked the first time a Canadian woman has advanced that far since Vancouver's Sonya Jeyaseelan at the 1994 French Open.
The experience was a thrill for the Quebecker, who is ranked 309 on the WTA list.
"It was really cool having a big crowd like that," Bouchard said. "It's so fun playing in front of so many people."
The wins show that the establishment of a National Tennis Centre in Montreal in 1997 is now paying off, Eugene Lapierre, a vice-president at Tennis Canada, told CTV News Channel.
“In singles, it was the first time with Eugenie Bouchard and Filip Peliwo winning the singles title at Wimbeldon, probably the most prestigious of them all,” Lapierre said on Sunday.
Not only were the wins a first for Canada, Lapierre said he also hopes it will draw more Canadian kids to tennis.
In spite of the weekend success, Lapierre warned against putting too much pressure on Bouchard and Peliwo as they move from these wins into their professional tennis careers.
“I would maybe make a comparison with hockey,” Lapierre said. “When you have a first-pick draft in the juniors, that doesn’t mean you are going to have a top-scorer career in the NHL. There are many steps before that.”
With files from The Canadian Press