Eugenie Bouchard made history Saturday by becoming Canada’s first Grand Slam singles winner when she beat the Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina 6-2, 6-2 in the junior girls’ final at Wimbledon.
The 18-year-old from Westmount, Que., ranked 309 on the WTA list, will have the chance to earn another Canadian record when she and American partner Taylor Townsend play for the junior doubles title against Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic and Croatia’s Ana Konjuh.
Top seeds Bouchard and Townsend booked their place by beating Montreal’s Francoise Abanda of Montreal and Sachia Vickery of the U.S. 7-6 (7-5), 7-5.
“I was going for it and hitting out,” Bouchard said of her play in Saturday’s singles final. “And I was moving forward and won quite a few points at the net.”
The singles win was the biggest junior success for Bouchard, who is coached part-time by France’s Nathalie Tauziat, who was the runner up at Wimbledon in 1998.
Bouchard tuned up for her big day by winning singles and doubles at the 2012 Wimbledon tune-up at Roehampton, London, and now has 12 ITF junior titles.
By simply playing her in first Grand Slam junior singles final, Bouchard became the first Canadian woman to get that far at a major since Vancouver’s Sonya Jeyaseelan at the 1994 French Open.
Vancouver’s Filip Peliwo will hope to have similar success on Sunday when he plays for the boys’ title against Australia’s Luke Saville.
Bouchard claimed the opening set against Svitolina in 29 minutes, who lost her opening serve on a double-fault.
Bouchard dropped her serve in the fourth game but immediately broke Svitolina’s next two service games on the way to the decisive early lead on 11,400-seat Court No. 1, which was about 70 per cent full.
“It was really cool having a big crowd like that,” Bouchard said. “It’s so fun playing in front of so many people.”
She also got to make her first ever Hawk-Eye video review challenge at a Grand Slam event and was successful.
“My first memory of Wimbledon was watching Maria Sharapova win the title in 2004,” Bouchard said. “She’s very aggressively and I try to play like her.”
Bouchard, who won five of eight break points and fired 21 winners in all, started the second set with a break as her confidence increased, running away with the second set to earn the trophy in exactly one hour over Svitolina, the winner of the French Open junior title in 2010.