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Sunday, July 15, 2018

Top Seed Tseng Adds Wimbledon Boys Championship to French Title; Wangs Take Girls Doubles Title; Virtanen and Erel Claim Boys Doubles Championship

©Colette Lewis 2018--

Chun Hsin Tseng of Taiwan now has two junior slam titles, adding the Wimbledon boys championship to his French Open title by holding off local favorite Jack Draper 6-1, 6-7(2), 6-4 in front of a boisterous home crowd on Court One Sunday.

Top seed Tseng, who also reached the Australian Open junior final back in January, was the more experienced player and the 26-minute first set provided few occasions for the near-capacity crowd to applaud the 16-year-old from Sutton, who was coming off a four-hour-plus, 19-17 third set in Friday's semifinal with Nicolas Mejia of Colombia.

Draper managed to get hold of his game and ignite the crowd in the the second game of the second set however, saving two break points to stay on serve, then breaking Tseng in the next game.

"That sort of got me back into the match, I felt, because I felt then I settled down and got used to everything," said Draper, who admitted his performance in the first set wasn't just fatigue.  "It was a bit of everything, also the occasion, getting used to having that many people watching you is a tiny bit of pressure on me. I'm a Brit as well. I learned to embrace that the second set, went from there."

Tseng, for his part, knew that he had missed an opportunity in that second set.

"I think first as I was playing, I was enjoying the tennis and playing relax," said the 16-year-old, who learned his tennis from his father, Yu Te, and has been mentored recently by Patrick Mouratoglou, who was in Tseng's player box. "Second set I have some chance to break his serve, but I didn't make it. I have to hold my serve, so I think I have more pressure on it, yes."

Tseng did get the break back in the second set, but buoyed by the crowd support, Draper dominated the tiebreaker, with his forehand heating up at just the right time to hand Tseng his first loss of a set in the tournament.

The third set began with three long games, with Tseng saving two break points at 0-1, then breaking for a 2-1 lead. That didn't last however, with Draper getting his backhand return going, a door that Tseng left open, with his first serve percentage under 50 throughout the match.  Tseng took a 3-2 lead with a break and then held, while Draper saved a break point in the next game to stay within range at 4-3.

Draper really got the crowd going in Tseng's service game, winning the first three points before getting the break at 30-40, and the left-hander was not shy about asking for their support.  The whistling, clapping and shouts of support could have intimidated Tseng, but they did not.

"I was just trying to get more focus on myself, just keep doing what I can do my best in the tennis, just focus on the court," Tseng said. "Actually at one point, I just can only hear myself breathe."

Draper played a tired-looking game at 4-all, and at 15-40, Tseng won a challenge on a first serve, which was called in but was shown on Hawkeye to be out. Draper then missed his second serve, deflating the crowd and Tseng had a changeover to think about serving for the Wimbledon title.

Tseng started poorly, going down 0-30, but he struck some confident ground strokes in the next three points, getting to match point when Draper netted a makeable backhand.  Tseng missed his first serve, but came up with a second serve ace down the T to become the first player since Gael Monfils in 2004 to win both the French and Wimbledon boys singles titles back-to-back.

Tseng, the first boy from Taiwan to win the Wimbledon title, said he models his game after that of Japan's Kei Nishikori.

"I think he's the best, one of the best Asian players," said Tseng, who is 5'9" and slightly built. "I think I play similar like him, so I want to be the same like him."

Tseng, who has already won two Futures titles in the past three months, is planning to play the US Open Junior Championships and the ITF Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires in October, while Draper, who has yet to earn his first ATP point, is looking to make his mark on the next level after his result this week.

"I'm going to go more into the senior game, for sure," said Draper. "I'm not really sure looking ahead at how many juniors I'm going to play. I'm definitely going to try and transition into the men's game."

Another player put a second slam title on their junior resume, with Xinyu Wang of China, who won the doubles title in Australia with Taiwan's En Shuo Liang, partnering with friend Xiyu Wang to beat 2017 Wimbledon doubles finalists and No. 2 seeds Caty McNally and Whitney Osuigwe 6-2, 6-1.

Wang and Wang, the top seeds, had played together at both Roehampton and Wimbledon last year, but not since.

"It’s great, I have won the Australian Open doubles title this year, this is my second time, but it’s exciting to win the doubles and especially with her," said Xinyu, whose superior English makes her the spokesperson for the team. "Because we both have good serving games, it makes it a lot easier. We’re not scared or we don’t have pressure when we’re returning, we just go for the lines."

Wang and Wang missed very few lines throughout the match, which lasted just 44 minutes.  At 1-1 in the first set, Osuigwe and McNally had Xinyu down 0-40 on her serve, but Wang and Wang won the next five points to take a lead they never relinquished.

"That was definitely an opportunity, it could have changed the whole match around," said McNally, who also lost in the girls doubles final in 2016. "The whole match could have been different because of that game. She served pretty well and hit some good shots, I thought, when they needed to in that game."

Xinyu Wang said they did not take anything for granted after that hold.

"We didn’t think too much," Xinyu said. "When it’s 0-40, we didn’t think about the game or if we lost this serving game or what would happen next. We kept focusing on the next point and the next point."

McNally and Osuigwe will again be attending the Wimbledon Champions Dinner tonight, but were hoping this year to go as champions, not finalists.

"We’ll go, I guess and it’s still nice when they dress up and everything, but it kind of sucks because we didn’t win," said McNally, the French Open girls doubles champion this year with Wimbledon girls champion Iga Swiatek.

McNally may play Citi Open qualifying late this month, but if not, then she will play the $60,000 tournament in Lexington Kentucky.  Osuigwe, who said she is done with juniors, will play USTA Pro Circuit events in the USTA Wild Card Challenge series beginning with Ashland Kentucky July 23.

Otto Virtanen of Finland and Yanki Erel of Turkey had never played doubles together before last week at Roehampton, but they are now Wimbledon champions after a 7-6(5), 6-4 victory in Sunday's final  over No. 6 seeds Nicolas Mejia of Colombia and Ondrej Styler of the Czech Republic.

Virtanen and Erel lost in the first round at the Roehampton Grade 1, so they had no expectations for this week.

"We just went on the court and felt really good here," said Virtanen, 17.  "From the beginning, we played absolutely amazing. It was totally different than last week, [we] both [were] in the game from the start of matches."

The final featured only one break of serve, with Virtanen hitting a winner up the middle on the second break point with Styler serving at 4-4. Erel served out the championship at love, which did not surprise Virtanen.

"We served really good during the whole week, and we did not have the stress on our service games because 99% we win our service games," Virtanen said. "We always start game, like 0-15 but never 0-30 or 0-40 so it’s pretty easy to play, you feel really good on court."

Erel, who is the first boy from Turkey to win a junior slam title, was still trying to process the fact that he's a Wimbledon champion.

"It’s good, but I am still like, how is that possible that we win the doubles?," said the 17-year-old, who plans to partner with Virtanen at the US Open Junior Championships in seven weeks. "I don’t know, but we deserve it and we did it. I’m so happy I don’t know what to say."

Complete draws can be found at the Wimbledon website.

Sunday's Mixed Doubles Final:

Nicole Melichar and Alexander Peya(AUT)[11] def. Victoria Azarenka(BLR) and Jamie Murray(GBR) 7-6(1), 6-3