Bencic Crowned Junior Champion

Belinda Bencic came from a break down in the final set to defeat Taylor Townsend and win the girls' singles title at Wimbledon.

Published July 06, 2013 12:00

Bencic Crowned Junior Champion
Belinda Bencic, Taylor Townsend

LONDON, England - Remarkably, it is now 19 years since a precocious Martina Hingis announced herself to the tennis world by winning back-to-back junior titles at Roland Garros and Wimbledon.

On Saturday, another talented young Swiss player, Belinda Bencic, mirrored her achievement when she came from a set down to defeat Taylor Townsend on Court No.1. Nationality and junior trophy hauls are not the only thing Bencic and Hingis share, though.

For much of the past decade, Bencic has been working alongside Hingis' mother and former coach, Melanie Molitor, who runs a leading tennis academy in Zürich. Since joining the academy as a seven-year-old, Molitor has encouraged Bencic to become a tactician as well as a ball striker, developing a cerebral game eerily reminiscent of Hingis.

"From when I was small, I knew that I would not hit the ball so hard," Bencic said. "But I learnt how to play smart, and when you combine a good serve and powerful shots with smart shots, I think it's good."

Her approach is certainly paying dividends in the junior ranks, where she is unbeaten in 2013. However, this run nearly came to an end at the hands of Townsend, who was edged out, 46 61 64, in a see-saw final at the All-England Club.

The American certainly had her chances - she was a point away from a 4-1 lead in the decider - yet it was Bencic that maintained her composure when it mattered most, capturing the vital break with a forehand winner at 4-4, before repeating the trick off the opposite wing on match point one game later.

"It's amazing," she said. "In the third set it was about holding serves and who had the better nerves."

Now Bencic has a big night tomorrow to prepare for. When asked how she planned to celebrate, she said: "At the champions' dinner, I'm really looking forward to that. I brought my dress just in case I won!"

She has received a wildcard for the upcoming Collector Swedish Open in Bastad and already has one eye on tapering down her junior schedule. "I plan to play the US Open juniors and after that I will see what is my ranking is in the pros. Maybe I can try to qualify for the women's event at the US Open too, and from there, who knows."

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