It will be Italy versus Korea in the final of the Wimbledon Boys’ Singles Championship after No.6 seed Gianluigi Quinzi and the unseeded Hyeon Chung progressed through hard-fought semi-finals on Friday.
Quinzi beat British hope Kyle Edmund in a tense 6-4, 6-4 contest before a large crowd on No.3 court, while on Court 12 Chung came out of an equally torrid match to beat Maximilian Marterer 6-7(5), 6-1, 6-3.
The Italian took on Edmund, who gained invaluable experience taking on Jerzy Janowicz in the men’s singles, and admitted to being nervous before the match.
“There was a lot of crowd. But after two or three games I was calm,” Quinzi said. “My serve was pretty good today. I play good, I have a good per cent on my [first] serve and I was aggressive, and if you’re aggressive the other one push a little bit.”
That aggression was on display in the sixth game when, facing three break points, Quinzi's big serve and forehand came to the fore and bailed him out of trouble to level at 3-3. It was a confidence boost he took into the next game, in which he secured the first break of the match.
In the eighth game – a torrid affair lasting more than 10 minutes – it was Quinzi again winning the points that mattered most, moving ahead 5-3.
He clung to his service break advantage to clinch the first set, and, volubly willing himself on, fired a forehand winner down the line to break for a 4-3 lead in the second set.
Nerves did appear when the Italian walked up to the line to serve for the match at 5-4 – he opened the 10th game with a double fault, and erred into net a few points later to give Edmund a chance to break.
Yet the Brit couldn’t convert, and when he hit a stroke long over the baseline, it sent Quinzi into the final and the Italian collapsed onto the court in celebration.
“I’m so excited because it’s my first slam final,” Quinzi said. “At the beginning of the tournament I was confident, I was mentally good, I hoped I was gonna win this tournament. [I am] confident because of my strokes, my serve – I improve a lot my serve and forehand, so if you’re confident with the strokes, you’re confident mentally.”
He will have the chance to test that confidence against Chung, who continued his barnstorming run through the draw to oust his German opponent in one hour and 44 minutes.
The Korean was under pressure early on as the powerful Marterer hit out, winning 93 per cent of points on his first serve and clubbing eight aces to seal the opening set after a tense tie-break.
But Chung showed the form that helped him eliminate top seed Nick Kyrgios in the third round, rock solid from the back of the court and running the increasingly flustered German around the court. He looped a forehand passing shot winner cross-court to break for 5-1, claimed the second set in a canter and scored a decisive break in the fifth game of the third.
Marterer valiantly attempted to break back – he held two break points in the sixth game – but was denied, and despondent, as Chung drove a backhand winner cross-court to hold for 4-2.
In the ninth game, the Korean showed no sign of nerves as he closed in on his first junior Grand Slam final, playing an off-forehand winner to level at 30-all and then, two points later, clinching victory as Materer sailed a forehand long.
20:24...But boy, it was a barrow-load of fun. I hope you enjoyed it even half as much as we did. Thank you for all your messages throughout, you've been the glue holding us together as the edges frayed amid the madness. Now if you'll excuse me, it's time for us Brits to raise a toast to Andy Murray and Fred Perry. British sporting legends both.
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