Chun Hsin Tseng stepped onto Court 17 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center just two matches from winning his third consecutive boys’ singles Grand Slam championship in 2018. But Brazilian Thiago Seyboth Wild put the Chinese Taipei star’s run to a stop, ousting the top seed, 6-2, 6-4, in 76 minutes.
“I just came on the court knowing exactly what I had to do. I just had a really solid match,” Seyboth Wild said. “I’ve been having a really great week. I honestly don’t know what’s happening to my serve. I haven’t served this well in, like, forever.”
While Seyboth Wild was seeded five spots lower in this event, he actually holds a higher ATP Ranking than his 17-year-old opponent — No. 464 compared to No. 483. The 18-year-old has largely competed on the ITF Pro Circuit in 2018, winning a Futures event in April. And that competition against professionals has helped his mentality.
“It’s the intensity that you have to play, the focus you’ve got to have during the match. Playing juniors and playing pros, they’re older, they’re men, they’re not juniors,” Seyboth Wild said. “It just makes juniors look easy for you—not ‘easy' easy—but it just makes everything easier to focus and keep a solid game and keep your strategy going.”
The No. 6 seed was the aggressor from the baseline, striking 25 winners to Tseng’s six, also being unafraid to use his drop shot to draw his opponent in and put away shots at net. This will be Seyboth Wild’s first Grand Slam final in his last junior event, but it’s not necessarily a surprise to him.
“I think everyone in the main draw expects to be in the final, they all want to win the tournament,” Seyboth Wild said. “I just came here to play my tennis, have some fun and enjoy my last junior tournament.”
“I cannot describe the feeling, because it’s the first time. It’s amazing and I couldn’t believe I was in the final,” Musetti said. “Now I have to try to get the trophy. I hope [I will], but I will enjoy the final tomorrow, for sure.”
One year ago, Musetti lost in the second round of qualifying here. But now, after reaching the Wimbledon quarterfinals, he is into the championship match in Flushing Meadows.
“I think, physically, it was very tough because he never missed and he stayed on the baseline, so it was tough to break him and he’s a really good flat player, so I needed to change my game, to slice and to confuse him,” Musetti said. “It was tough, but I think I prepared very good for the match this morning. I think I played very good tennis and it was very impressive for me because I never stayed so much focused in one match. I’m so happy with this and I think the hard work [paid off].”
On the girls’ side, No. 11 seed Clara Burel advanced to her second major final, beating No. 4 seed Maria Camila Osorio Serrano, 7-5, 1-6, 7-6. While the French 17-year-old couldn’t convert three match points at 5-4 in the third set, she found a way to battle past the Colombian.
“I was just so tired, so stressed. It was very close. I knew she wouldn’t give me the match, so I was very nervous,” Burel said. “But I tried to put the ball in the court, go to net when I could and I did my best.”
Burel will look to go one step further than she did in the Australian Open final, where she lost in straight sets.
“I know the feeling when you go to the court and it’s a Grand Slam final. It’s special, so I have the experience. I want to win this one, so I’ll do my best,” Burel said. “I will try to be ready from the first point and fight to do my best... I’m a fighter and I will never give up.”
It's not the first time Wang has found success at a major this year, she reached the girls' singles semifinals at Wimbledon, while also advancing to the quarterfinals at the Australian Open and Roland-Garros. Wang has also enjoyed previous success in New York, earning a spot in last year's girls' doubles final.