Bouchard and Svitolina Play for Wimbledon Girls Championship Saturday; Peliwo Saves Five Match Points to Beat Krueger and Advance to Third Straight Junior Slam Final Against Defending Champion Saville on Sunday
Peliwo started without much rhythm and couldn't rely on his serve, falling behind a break early in both the first and second sets. The atmosphere was nearly forlorn, with just a few dozen spectators on Court 16, while the entire country's attention was turned to Centre Court and Andy Murray's attempt to reach his first Wimbledon final.
In the first set, Krueger was up 5-2, lost the lead, held for 6-5 and broke for the first set, although it took him five set points to do so.
The second set played out with an eerie similarity, but this time Peliwo was facing match points, not set points. Serving at 2-5, Peliwo saved the first match point with a good first serve, and the second with a stellar backhand winner down the line. Serving at 5-3, Krueger only got one first serve in, but he had another match point at 40-30. Peliwo won the long rally by forcing a short ball and putting away the overhead, then won the next two points when Krueger made errors on the forehand side.
After he and Krueger held, Peliwo was back in the same place he was in the first set, this time serving to stay in the match. Down 15-40 after three errors, Peliwo again came up with the right shot at the right time. He hit an ace to make it 30-40, then put a forehand on the baseline to force an error, although after the match he had difficulty recalling exactly which match point was which.
"One that I remember is I hit a backhand right on the baseline," said Peliwo, who recalled a Futures win when he had saved even more match points. "He thought it was going out, I thought it was out, and he ended up missing it, I think."
"I don't know exactly what I did, but I said, okay, the match is probably over, but just play the point," Peliwo said of his mindset on the match points. "I doubt I'm going to be saving this match point after I saved those match points, so just play the point, do whatever you can and hopefully he doesn't hit a winner or you make a stupid error, and I ended up hitting winners instead."
Krueger couldn't find much to regret in his choice of shots during those critical moments.
"I can't really remember all the match points, but from what I can remember, it wasn't me who made an error," Krueger said. "I was in the position I wanted to be in and I didn't win the last point. I suppose I could have tried a bigger serve or a bigger shot, but I can't second-guess myself. I put myself where I wanted to be, I got as close as you can get."
Peliwo thinks he will approach his third straight junior slam final a little differently because of how he got there this time.
"I'm not saying I should have lost today, but I could have easily done so," Peliwo said. "So I'm happy to be in the final. I'm not completely satisfied with it, because I want to win obviously, but what I didn't do in the French Open was go for my shots, play loose. I was playing tight, so I think I'll just go out and enjoy the moment, not really think about the result."
Krueger is hoping to learn from his loss, as he prepares for the USTA Nationals and a shot at a US Open wild card in Kalamazoo next month. One lesson he would like to master is closing out an opponent when he has the chance.
"This is three times in four tournaments that I've lost on this trip having match points," said Krueger with a sigh. "I lost in Milan to Quinzi when I had match points, and against Julien Cagnina last week I had match points. It's too many. But all the matches I'm losing are against good players, and all close. I can't complain. I'm playing well."