From Paris to London, Jason Tseng reaches Eurostar status
Two-thirds into the 2018 Boys’ Wimbledon final, Jason Tseng faced a major crisis.
He lost a set of tennis.
For ordinary mortals, dropping sets is part of the job — you’re getting used to it all year long.
However, for someone who had just won 33 — T-H-I-R-T-Y T-H-R-E-E — consecutive sets dating back to mid-May, the latest of which being a 6-1 to open the final, that 6-7(2) set held more significance than just numbers on a scoreboard.
It meant the momentum was over; the ‘zone’ area was exited for good; the elusive Roland-Garros-Wimbledon double was possibly gone.
His opponent, Jack Draper, was bidding to become the first British winner of the Boys' Singles title since Stanley Matthews in 1962. He had come into this final having just won the longest Wimbledon junior semifinal in history, defeating Colombian Nicolas Mejia 7-6(5), 6-7(6), 19-17 in 4 hours and 23 minutes.
Despite understandable fatigue, he would not go down without a fight, and after he reeled off seven straight points in the second set tiebreak to send the match into a decider, there we had one.
After two trades of breaks, and as Draper had to swap racquets after smashing one into the grass earlier, Tseng proved to be the more level-headed player to get what looked like the definite break at 4-4.
On match point, at 5-4 40-30, he couldn’t find a first serve.
But buoyed by the confidence he’d been building on since the beginning of the year, the Roland-Garros champion went all in on the second serve.
Ace on the T.
HUGE. BOOM. OVER.
Usually not prone to demonstrative celebrations, the No. 1 seed let out a triumphant scream and fell down to the ground.
Completing the ‘Channel Slam' in juniors — a feat nobody had achieved on the boys’ side since Gael Monfils in 2004 — was worth upending tradition.
Like fellow standout youngster Felix Auger-Aliassime, Jason Tseng is known to share the same birthday as Roger Federer. Now he has something much more concrete to cherish: His name on the Boys’ Wimbledon winners list, twenty years after the eight-time Wimbledon champion.
Name: @rogerfederer— Mouratoglou Tennis Academy (@MouratoglouAcad) 17 July 2018
Date of birth: August 8, 1981
Boys' #Wimbledon champion: 1998 ????
Name: Chun Hsin Tseng
Date of birth: August 8, 2001
Boys' Wimbledon champion: 2018 ???? pic.twitter.com/3DpGnqPZbz
Tseng's idol is not Federer but Nishikori, though.
"My favorite idol is Kei Nishikori because I think he's the best... one of the best Asian players. I think I play similarly as him, so I want to become the same as him."
“It was a really big achievement. I have to thank so many people that helped me achieve this goal,” Tseng added.
In addition to his parents and his full-time coach, the Taiwanese was probably thinking of Patrick Mouratoglou, who spotted his talent at the age of 13, and Kerei Abakar, who’s been training him part-time ever since then at the Mouratoglou Tennis Academy.
Three years later, fresh off a splendid Roland-Garros & Wimbledon double, Jason Tseng stands as the undisputed No. 1 junior in the world.
It all started with a final in Melbourne, but from Paris to London, Jason Tseng really reached (Euro)star status.
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