Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Peliwo Attempts to Transition from Juniors to Pro in Same Tennis Season

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Peliwo Attempts to Transition from Juniors to Pro in Same Tennis Season

Article excerpt

Wimbledon junior champion finding his way

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VANCOUVER - Filip Peliwo is leading a double life these days.

Sometimes he is an established junior tennis star. At other times, like this weekend in Rogers Cup qualifying, he is a rookie trying to find his way at the professional level.

"It's obviously important to adjust when you're playing juniors or pros," said Peliwo. "I'm going from being one of the favourites to being a big underdog."

The 18-year-old North Vancouver, B.C., native will begin his qualifying attempt on Saturday. His opponent was to be confirmed late Friday night.

The suspense added just another chapter to Peliwo's transition from the junior ranks to the pros -- in the same season. Peliwo must win both of his qualifying matches to get into the main draw.

It's a much different situation than in July, when he became the first Canadian to win the Wimbledon junior men's championship.

He joined an exclusive Wimbledon junior champions group that includes Swiss ace Roger Federer, who withdrew from the Rogers Cup on Friday.

"Definitely, (the Wimbledon victory) improved my confidence a lot," said Peliwo, "Obviously, it doesn't really translate into a pro career as much, because it's a different game out here."

Peliwo also reached the finals of the Australian Open and French Open earlier this year. He is ranked No. 2 in the world at the junior level and 620th among men. He briefly held the No. 1 junior men's ranking, again becoming the first Canadian to do so, after his Wimbledon triumph, but was overtaken recently by European champion Kimmer Coppejans of Belgium.

However, the thrill of victory at the junior level has been offset by a number of disappointments in pro matches. On Tuesday, he lost in the first round of the Odlum Brown Vancouver Open, a $100,000 Challenger tour event in West Vancouver, B.C., falling 7-6 (4), 6-0 to journeyman pro Jimmy Wang, 27, of Chinese Taipei.

Peliwo battled in the first set as he overcame a deficit of 4-2 in games and 4-0 in a tiebreaker, but admitted he lost his focus while being blanked in the second set.

Two weeks ago, he lost in the first round of a $50,000 Challenger event in Granby, Que. …

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