Xu Shilin delights home fans with singles' gold at YOG
Updated: 2014-08-25 14:07
Xu Shilin of China celebrates her 6-2, 6-3 victory over Akvile Parazinskaite of Lithuania on Friday to reach the women's tennis fi nal where she will face Iryna Shymanovich of Belarus at the Youth Olympic Games. PHOTO BY WEI XIAOHAO / CHINA DAILY
NANJING, China - Xu Shilin completed a dream week at the Youth Olympic Games tennis event on Sunday, beating Iryna Shymanovic 6-3, 6-1 to claim the girls' singles gold medal to the delight of a partisan Chinese crowd in Nanjing.
While the final was delayed by an hour and 15 minutes due to a violent thunderstorm and a torrential downpour, 16-year-old Xu shrugged off the overdue start with a confident, focused performance that belied her tender years.
"I'm really excited to win the gold medal," she said afterwards.
"I'm going to put it on the wall at home. The rain didn't affect me a lot. At the beginning of the game, I was really nervous, but the support from all the spectators helped me to relax."
Shymanovich drew first blood in the third game, but rather than a start of a period of dominance for the Belarusian, it marked the beginning of a shaky spell for both her and her opponent on serve as they traded breaks for four games in a row.
Xu stopped the rot in game seven, focussing on simply coming up with mid-court replies to her opponent's hard, flat groundstrokes and forcing errors from the Belarusian to steal a 4-3 advantage.
Shymanovich appeared to be feeling the effects of her exploits throughout the week and Xu started to gain her momentum, often dragging her opponnet around the baseline like a puppet. After another break, Xu took the opening set at 6-3.
With IOC President Thomas Bach, Chinese IOC member Li Lingwei and ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti watching on, not to mention the very vocal 1,200-capacity home crowd supporting her, Xu went up another gear and blitzed her opponent 6-1 in the second set.
"She's a great player and she deserves this win. I'm happy for her. I did great in this tournament and I'm so happy to bring home two medals," said Shymanovich, who claimed the girls' doubles gold.
"Of course next time I'll try to get two golds, but anyway, it' s good. It's been really great and a lot of good experience."