Peliwo gives Canada sweep at Wimbledon

Filip Peliwo holds his winner's trophy after defeating Luke Saville of Australia in their boys'...

Filip Peliwo holds his winner's trophy after defeating Luke Saville of Australia in their boys' singles tennis match at Wimbledon, July 8, 2012. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth

Dave Pollard, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 5:55 PM ET

The future of Canadian tennis looks just a little brighter than it did, oh, say two weeks ago.

A day after Eugenie Bouchard of Westmount, Que., became the first Canadian to win a Grand Slam singles title on the hallowed grass courts of Wimbledon, Filip Peliwo of Vancouver made history of his own Sunday at the All-England Club.

With the legendary Roger Federer en route to his seventh Wimbledon title on an adjacent court, Peliwo came from behind to down world No. 1 and defending champ Luke Saville of Australia 7-5, 6-4 to claim the junior men's crown. Peliwo, who will take over atop the world rankings Monday after starting the tournament fourth, is the first Canadian junior male to win a Grand Slam event.

"Just the fact a Canadian sweep was possible was a huge motivation," Peliwo said on a conference call. "(Bouchard's win Saturday) kind of made me more hungry to do the same. It was a really big inspiration."

Peliwo joins the likes of Federer, Bjorn Borg, Ivan Lendl, Pat Cash and Stefan Edberg as a junior winner at Wimbledon. Pretty heady company for the 18-year-old, who really only started making inroads on the junior tennis scene after reaching the Orange Bowl semifinals last December..

"It's great to be put together with names like Federer, it's a great feeling," Peliwo said. I'm very happy about it. Wimbledon is one of the most prestigious tournaments around. It's the biggest achievement of my life ... so far."

The way things were going this year, Peliwo wasn't sure what to expect at Wimbledon, a tournament that hadn't been kind to him.

In 2011, the 18-year-old went out with a straight-set loss to Mathias Bourgue of France in the first round. Then factor in his 0-for-2 record in Grand Slam finals this year -- he lost to Saville in the Australian Open and Kimmer Coppejans of Belgium in the French Open -- and Peliwo didn't have much reason to be optimistic about making Canadian history.

"I didn't really have expectations going into this because I didn't do too well here last year," he said. "I had two chances before and I didn't want to mess it up a third time. (The win) is very important to me. I wanted to win a Grand Slam very much this year.

"It's especially good to beat (Saville) after losing in Australia. It's definitely a good rivalry we've got. I can't help but feel bad for him but somebody had to win and I'd rather it be me."

Peliwo fell behind 5-2 in the first set and the feeling of deja vu started creeping in. But he reeled off five straight wins to take the set and gain momentum, which carried over into the second set.

"I didn't really believe I was going to win the (first) set," Peliwo admitted. "I thought, OK, maybe this set is over. I just tried to play every one one at a time. (But) to be honest, I can't remember what I was thinking."

Bouchard gave Canadian tennis fans even more reason to smile when she and American Taylor Townsend won the girls' doubles title Sunday with a 6-4, 6-3 decision over Belinda Bencic of Switzerland and Ana Konjuh of Croatia. It was Bouchard's second straight doubles title at Wimbledon -- she won with American Grace Min last year -- and her three career junior titles are more than any other player in the open era.

" I really believed I could do it," Bouchard said after her 6-2, 6-2 win over Elina Svitolina of Ukraine Saturday. "I'm really happy to have pulled through and, I guess, made Canada proud. I was pretty calm, I just blocked it all out, I didn't spend time looking around. I had a job to do and I was just focused on that.

"It's good for me because it gives me confidence. Playing juniors, all the pressure is on me. It's totally different than playing pro (tournaments), where I'm the underdog. It's definitely a different kind of pressure that will hopefully prepare me for the future. Knowing I can do it gives me more confidence."


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