Ane Mintegi del Olmo has made junior tennis history…
The 17-year-old Spanish tennis player has added her name to the list of junior Grand Slam champions at Wimbledon, making history for her home country in the process.
Mintegi del Olmo outlasted fellow 17-year-old Nastasja Schunk of Germany, 2-6, 6-4, 6-1, becoming the first Spaniard to claim the girls’ singles tite champion’s trophy on No.1 Court, fighting back from a set and a break down to outlast Schunk and notch her first junior Grand Slam title.
Mintegi del Olmo won nearly half of the points returning Schunk’s second serve, helping her attain one more service break than her opponent to pull off the come-from-behind victory.
The aggressive play of left-handed Schunk garnered her an 82 percent success rate at net, but the German was undone by 41 unforced errors, compared to just 24 from Mintegi del Olmo.
“The first set, [Schunk] played incredible,” Mintegi del Olmo. “I have nothing to say. She played very good the first set. Then I served better in the second set, and in the third set I play very well. But she played very well.”
At the outset of the match, strong passes intermixed with powerful forehands to help Schunk build an early 3-1 lead. Schunk then broke at love to lead 5-2 and serve for the set, where Mintegi del Olmo fended off two set points and used stellar depth of shot to reach break point. Schunk used her lefty forehand to grit out a hold and a one-set lead.
“In the first set I’m a little bit nervous, but slowly, slowly when I finish the first set, the [nerves] go down and I start playing better,” Mintegi del Olmo said.
Despite dropping the opening game of the second set, Mintegi del Olmo continued to show off improving form, and quickly struck back for 1-1. Mintegi del Olmo used a variety of weights on her shots and superb defense to draw an increasing number of errors from Schunk, and the Spaniard moved ahead 5-3 after firing a strong return to break Schunk.
Serving for the second set, Mintegi del Olmo lost control of her shots to drop serve, but the Spaniard got a bigger opportunity in the next game when Schunk fell behind 0-40, queuing up triple set point. On her second set point, Mintegi del Olmo came out on top in a rally, and the match was leveled at one set apiece.
After saving two break points at 1-1, Mintegi del Olmo took control, using spins and well-timed service winners to reel off the final five games of the affair. A passing winner gave Mintegi del Olmo a 5-1 lead and the chance to serve for the match, and though Schunk used her power game to erase four match points, Mintegi del Olmo converted her fifth to break new ground for Spain.
Both of the junior finalists have already started to make waves at WTA events this season. Mintegi del Olmo pushed former Top 10 player Kristina Mladenovic to a final-set tiebreak in Madrid qualifying. Schunk won two matches to qualify for the Stuttgart main draw on home soil, before falling to Belinda Bencic in her WTA main-draw debut.