Wimbledon 2023: Henry Searle storms into the Boys' singles final
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Britain’s Henry Searle has breezed into the final of the Boys’ singles at Junior Wimbledon following a dominant display against fourth seed Cooper Williams in Saturday's semi-final.
The 17-year-old bypassed the world No.4 7-6(4), 6-3 to reach a career first final at a Junior Grand Slam.
While today's win sees Searle become the first British boy to make the Junior Wimbledon final since Jack Draper in 2018, he will now fight to make history and become the first British boys' champion in SW19 since Stanley Matthews in 1962.
“It was pretty cool” Searle said on the crowds supporting him, “I think being the home favourite is pretty special and especially doing it at Wimbledon.”
“I’m just going to focus on myself, it’s another match at the end of the day and I’m going to do my best to win.”
Searle’s semi-final contest against the USA’s Williams was his third seeded opponent this tournament. Rallied on by a sea of home support on Court 4, the Loughborough National Academy scholar brought his best game to the encounter.
The opening set saw little separate the two players in terms of quality, as they went toe-to-toe to take the upper hand. With both players refusing to back down on their serves, the fate of the first set was decided by a tie-break, with the Brit raising his level when it mattered most. Grasping a hold of a double break from the get-go, the youngster from Wolverhampton raced to a 4-0 lead, before sealing the first set with an ace.
With confidence flowing through his veins, Searle continued to strike with conviction in the second as he displayed aggression and power through his groundstrokes.
The American held firm to stave off four break points at 2-2, but the world No.27 continued piling the pressure on Williams’ serve to eventually find the crucial breakthrough and find himself one game away from the final two.
Stepping up to the line to serve it out for a place in the final, Searle shook off the nerves and eventually secured the victory on the third match point with yet another thundering serve.
The only thing now standing in the way of Searle and the Wimbledon crown is world No.7 Yaroslav Demin who has embarked on a strong week of his own, having taken down Hayato Matsuoka, Freddy Blaydes, Antoine Ghibaudo, Tomasz Berkieta and Darwin Blanch en route to the final.
Speaking on facing his opponent tomorrow, Searle added, “I’ve played him a couple of times – I played him at the French Open as well. I put in a good performance against him, he’s a very good player, really tricky but I managed to come out on top in the French Open.
“It’s definitely a confidence booster and it’s helping me going into that match tomorrow, but I’ve got to expect a better version of him tomorrow.
“Obviously, he’s won a lot of matches this week and must be feeling pretty good so I have to be prepared to go out and face anything.”
Elsewhere in junior action, Hannah Klugman and Isabelle Lacy have booked their ticket to Sunday’s Girls’ doubles final after dispatching Tatum Evans and Alanis Hamilton 6-2, 6-4.
This marks another milestone in British tennis as they become the first Britons to feature in the final since Lizzie Jelfs won the crown alongside South African partner Nannie de Villiers since 1994.
“It’s incredible, we’re just so happy to be in the final” Lacy said. “Our teamwork and our game has really improved this week. We’ve haven’t really played together before so it’s a shock to be in the final but we’re honestly so happy to be here.”
“We’ve got nothing to lose, we just have to go in and see what we can do. We’re going to enjoy it tonight and we’ll see (what happens) tomorrow.”
They will now do battle with the winners of Alena Kovackova & Laura Samsonova vs Renata Jamrichova & Federica Urgesi in Sunday’s final.