It's nothing like the 77 years of history that Andy Murray put to rest with his win over Novak Djokovic in the men's final, but Gianluigi Quinzi ended a drought of 26 years since the last Italian boy won the Wimbledon junior title, defeating Hyeon Chung of Korea 7-5, 7-6(2) in front of a large crowd on Court 1.
The sixth-seeded Quinzi, who joins 1987 champion Diego Nargiso as the only Italians to claim a Wimbledon boys singles title, started well, taking a 2-0 lead, as the unseeded Chung seemed more affected by nerves. Quinzi, a semifinalist in the Wimbledon juniors last year, had had the advantage of playing in front of a large crowd on Court 3 in his semifinal victory Friday over local favorite Kyle Edmund, but it wasn't long before Chung regained his composure, breaking back in the fourth game on a Quinzi double fault.
That began a stretch of three straight breaks, with Chung pressuring the left-handed Quinzi with his backhand and defense. Breaking Quinzi for the third straight time, Chung was on a roll, at one stage winning ten points in a row to take a 5-3 lead. But in attempting to serve out the set, Chung faltered, playing more tentatively, throwing in a double fault and two errors to make it 30-40. In one of the best points in a match that featured many, Chung played amazing defense, running down big shot after big shot, but Quinzi finally found himself at the net, where he put away a forehand volley winner to make it 5-4.
Quinzi held easily, then broke his fellow 17-year-old in the next game, with Quinzi getting his break point with a big forehand then getting an inside out forehand error from Chung.
In the next game, Quinzi succeeded where Chung had failed, serving out the set at love with the help of two aces.
Unlike the first set, which saw seven breaks in 12 games, the second set saw none, although each boy had chances early, with Quinzi saving a break point in the second game and Chung coming back from 0-40 down in the third game to hold.
At that juncture, Chung needed a medical timeout to attend to a blister on his foot, but the delay certainly didn't affect Quinzi as he served two aces in the next game to hold. Commentator Josh Goodall thought the different in the match was Quinzi's ability to finish at the net, but you could make a case for his serve as the decisive factor in a close match, with 15 unreturned serves midway through the second set, according to the commentators.
Serving at 4-5 in the second set, Quinzi was down 0-30, but he won the next four points, with first serves helping his cause. After two service holds at love, it was time for the tiebreaker.
Chung fell behind 4-1 with Quinzi having two mini breaks, but Chung found his bearings in the next point, using his excellent defense to prolong the point, followed by a drop shot to send Quinzi scrambling, with the Italian then missing a forehand volley to make in 4-2 at the change of ends. That great point turned out to be the last one Chung would win, as Quinzi worked his way into the next and cut off a Chung passing shot with a forehand volley winner to make it 5-2. Chung could only stare at a Quinzi cross court forehand winner on the next point that gave Quinzi four match points. He only needed one, with Chung finding the net with a forehand to give Quinzi a 7-5, 7-6(2) win.
Quinzi fell to the ground and began shaking with sobs, before getting up, raising his arms and walking to meet Chung, who was walking to Quinzi's side of the court to congratulate him. Both IMG clients, the two boys had know each other for years, with both training for a time at the Bollettieri Academy in Bradenton, with Quinzi saying after the match that he considered Chung a friend.
Quinzi did not lose a set in his six victories, and despite his excellent results on clay, he proved his game is more than adequate on the grass courts of the All England Club. Quinzi said he thought the difference in the match was how he played on the big points, conceding that Chung was his superior during the baseline rallies, but unable to find that top level on the most important points. For more on the boys final, see this article from the Wimbledon website.