Rubin Wins Wimbledon Title as US Boys Shine; Ostapenko Collects Latvia's First Junior Slam Championship
by Colette Lewis
, 11 July 2014
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Competitors from the United States didn't perform well in men's and women's singles at Wimbledon, with none in the fourth round for the first time since 1911. But American juniors picked up the slack, claiming seven of the 16 quarterfinal berths and both finalists in the boys championship match, won by qualifier Noah Rubin 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 over No. 6 seed Stefan Kozlov.
Wimbledon Boys Champion Noah Rubin
courtesy, Paul Ballard
Rain disrupted play often in the first two days of competition, but good weather midweek got the tournament back on track. The round of 16 in the boys draw featured seven Americans, with Logan Smith
, Alex Rybakov
, No. 11 seed Michael Mmoh
, No. 7 seed Francis Tiafoe
and Taylor Fritz
joining Rubin and Kozlov, while 14-year-old qualifier Michaela Gordon
and No. 3 seed Tornado Alicia Black
kept the US girls' hopes alive through the quarterfinals.
The 16-year-old Fritz, playing in only his third junior slam, used his big serve to make his way into the semifinals, where he encountered Rubin. Although Fritz hit several serves over 130 mph, it was Rubin, who received entry into qualifying via his ATP ranking of 591, who advanced to the championship match with a 6-4, 6-2 victory.
Kozlov had won an emotional match over No. 2 seed and 2013 finalist Hyeon Chung of Korea in the quarterfinals, then topped No. 8 seed Johan Sebastien Tatlot of France in the semifinals to set up the first all-American boys final since Van Winitsky defeated Eliot Teltscher in 1977.
Played on Court 1, which holds 11,000 and was approximately two-thirds full, the boys final was a memorable experience for both Rubin and Kozlov, although Kozlov had already reached the Australian Open boys final back in January.
"When I played on Rod Laver (Arena) it was really quiet," Kozlov said of his experience in Melbourne, where he lost to Alexander Zverev of Germany. "I don't know why, I don't think anyone was into the match, I mean it was 3 and love. It was not even halfway filled. Today was an unbelievable atmosphere, one of the best I've ever played."
"I didn't expect it to be that packed," admitted Rubin, who said he wasn't distracted by the cheering crowds watching the men's final on the big screen on the famous hill just outside. "I actually thought nobody was going to come out to the match, but that was not the case. They were all very enthusiastic to be out there. I kind of got the crowd into it a little bit. Just the atmosphere was unbelievable."
Fans didn't side with either player, but after Rubin won the first set, breaking Kozlov for the second time in the set in the fifth game and holding the rest of the way, they were actively supporting Kozlov's push to take the second set. Rubin went up a break 3-2 in the second set on a dazzling backhand cross court pass, but Kozlov broke right back, taking advantage of two unforced errors by Rubin.