Indian-origin Samir Banerjee lifts Wimbledon boys singles title

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Playing only his second junior Grand Slam, 17-year-old won 7-5 6-3 in the final that lasted in one hour 22 minutes. Banerjee’s parents had moved to America in the 1980s. At the junior French Open, Banerjee, ranked 19 in the world, had crashed out in the first round. India has been struggling to field a worthy contender at junior Grand Slams for some time now.

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Due to the lack of a robust domestic circuit and not having enough competitions at home to earn world ranking points, India has been struggling to create the next crop of youngsters. Yuki Bhambri was the last Indian to win a junior singles title when he triumphed at the Australian Open in 2009 while Sumit Nagal won the Wimbledon boys doubles in 2015 with Vietnam’s Ly Hoang Nam.

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Ramanathan Krishnan was the first Indian to win a junior major when he won the 1954 Junior Wimbledon championship. His son Ramesh Krishnan won the 1970 junior Wimbledon and junior French Open titles while Leander Paes won the 1990 junior Wimbledon and junior US Open. Paes was also a runner-up at the junior Australian Open.

Meanwhile, Croatian duo Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic lived up to their billing as the world’s top doubles team by winning Wimbledon to secure their biggest win of a dominant season. The top-seeded pair beat Marcel Granollers of Spain and Horacio Zeballos of Argentina 6-4, 7-6 (5), 2-6, 7-5 in a final that finished close to 10:20 p.m. (2120 GMT) under the roof on Centre Court.

They had a first match point at 5-4 in the fourth set then converted their second to break Granollers’ serve in the final game.

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“That ball falling long on the last point, that was the best feeling of my life,” Mektic said. “It was an incredible match today again. The last three matches that we played, it was probably the best three matches of my life, the best three matches that I ever participated in.”

The pair had to come from two sets down in the quarterfinals. It is the eighth title this season for Mektic and Pavic, in their first year as a pair. They are the first Croatian duo to win the doubles at Wimbledon and did it 20 years after Goran Ivanisevic won the men’s singles final.

“This is something special, this is by far the best tournament in the world,” Pavic said. “Especially for me and I think for Nikola also, we all grew up with Goran.”

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Pavic also won the Australian Open in 2018 and the US Open last year with different partners. It was Mektic’s first Grand Slam title. They enter the Tokyo Olympics as the big favourite for the gold medal.

(With agency inputs)

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