Britain clearly sits well with Eugenie Bouchard. There’s a little bit of British royalty about her name – along with her sister Beatrice and brother William – and now the Canadian has secured her place in history at another prestigious British institution by winning the girls’ singles title at the All England Club.
Bouchard’s masterful display of controlled aggression and composure against Ukrainian Elina Svitolina on No.1 Court helped her to claim a resounding 6-2, 6-2 victory in exactly an hour. Her understated, polite celebration – again rather in the British mould – belied the ferocity with which she dismantled the third seed.
"I felt surprisingly calm. I was happy with myself for that. But I felt like I was playing really well. So I was, you know, just staying calm and just, you know, positive and, you know, focusing on one point at a time, not thinking about anything else. That really helped me," Bouchard said.
With a powerful, attacking game like the one she displayed in the final, a bright future at Wimbledon could well lie ahead. And she demonstrated it from the first game, breaking serve immediately. Although she lost her way in the fourth game, with a rash of errors handing Svitolina a break to love, Bouchard recovered to break again in the fifth game and keep her nose in front at 3-2.
Svitolina clearly was not handling the occasion as well as the No.5 seed. Unlike the Canadian, whose game was flush with winners, she couldn’t clear the net with her own ground strokes. It cost her in the sixth game as she dropped serve, and again on serve two games later. Bouchard secured the set in 29 minutes.
The second followed a similar pattern. The Ukrainian continued to find the net and the fifth seed claimed an immediate service break, consolidating it for a 2-0 lead.
With Bouchard’s coach, the 1998 Wimbledon finalist Nathalie Tauziat, watching, she made her move. Smacking a cross-court forehand winner off a short ball to extend her lead to 4-2, she broke for 5-2 with a return winner and a forehand winner on consecutive points.
Serving for the title, Bouchard lifted her level further. Firing another forehand winner to reach 30-0, she then secured a trio of match points with yet another winner – taking her tally to 21 compared to Svitolina’s five – off a short return. The Ukrainian committed her 19th error to end the match.
Heading into the final, Svitolina looked the goods, on paper at least. Despite not being ranked among the world’s top 50 juniors, her third seeding was just reward for her success on the women’s senior circuit, which has vaulted her well inside the top 200.
Yet perhaps the result was not such a surprise. Bouchard has cruised through the draw this week in SW19, dropping just one set en route to the final. Svitolina, meanwhile, had been forced to grind through three three-set matches, including in the semi-finals against Bouchard’s compatriot, Francoise Abanda.
The British theme continued at the trophy presentation. Bouchard was awarded the trophy by local Ann Jones, a Ladies’ singles winner in 1969. With Bouchard, at 18, focusing her sights on the women’s tour, she will no doubt be aiming to emulate Jones – and further cement her place in Wimbledon history – with a future run to the Ladies’ title.
"It's good for me because it gives me confidence, because playing juniors, you know, all the pressure's on me. It's totally different than playing the pros where I'm the underdog. So it's definitely a different kind of pressure that hopefully will prepare me for the future. So knowing that I can do it, it just gives me more confidence," Bouchard said.
Bouchard will have a chance to add to her Wimbledon trophy collection in the Girls’ Doubles final. The winner of the 2011 title with Grace Min, the Canadian has teamed up with American Taylor Townsend in 2012 and the top seeds progressed to the final with a 7-6(5), 7-5 semi-final win over another Canadian-US pair, Francoise Abanda and Sachia Vickery. They’ll meet the Swiss-Croatian pairing of Belinda Bencic and Ana Konjuh, who defeated No.2 seeds Daria Gavrilova and Elina Svitolina, 5-7, 6-3, 6-1, in their semi-final.
In the Boys’ Doubles final, Andrew Harris and Nick Kyrgios will be looking to add to their major doubles collection, having also claimed victory in the recent French Open boys’ event. Harris and Kyrgios achieved a straightforward win over Argentines Juan Ignacio Galarza and Mateo Nicolas Martinez. They will meet Matteo Donati and Pietro Licciardi in the final, after the unseeded Italians defeated Evan Hoyt and Wayne Montgomery 7-6(4), 7-6(5).
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