Samir Banerjee became the first India-American player to win a Grand Slam boys’ singles title, beating compatriot Viktor Lilov 7-5, 6-3 in one hour and 21 minutes in the final at the Wimbledon championships on Sunday.
Samir, 17, suffered a wobble while serving for the opening set at 5-3 and lost his serve, allowing Viktor to level scores at 5-5. However, he regrouped himself and won the next two games to pocket the first set. He again raced through the second set, breaking his opponent’s serve in the sixth game to take 4-2 lead.
Viktor broke back in the next game, raising hopes of another fightback. But Samir did not give him that opportunity and sealed victory by winning the next game.
Though Indian-American players like Prakash Amritraj and his cousin Stephen Amritraj have played on the circuit and won some titles too, Samir is the first to win the boys singles title at a Grand Slam.
Four Indians — Ramanathan Krishnan, Ramesh Krishnan, Leander Paes and Yuki Bhambri — have won the boys’ singles title at Grand Slam events.