Claire Liu back in the winner's circle

Victoria Chiesa | May 05, 2021

May is Asian-American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. To celebrate, is taking a look at Asian-Americans past, present and future – those who have helped to shape the game, and those who could soon cement their place in it.


Welcome back to title town, Claire Liu. The 20-year-old American captured the biggest title of her career over the weekend at the $60,000 USTA Pro Circuit event in Charlottesville, Va., beating China's Wang Xinyu via retirement, 3-6, 6-4, 4-1.


Liu's win in Virginia snapped a four-match losing skid in finals dating back to October 2019. She was runner-up at a pair of USTA Pro Circuit events in 2020 prior to the hiatus brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, and reached two finals as $25,000 USTA Pro Circuit events this year. The former Wimbledon junior champion earned the fifth singles title of her professional career with the victory, and first above $25,000-level on the ITF World Tennis Tour.


Here's more on the newly-crowned Liu, a native of Thousand Oaks, Calif.

The Claire Liu File

Age: 20
Birthplace: Thousand Oaks, Calif.
Current Rank: No. 172
Career-High Rank: No. 137 (January 2019)
Best US Open Finish: Round 2 (2018)


The Baseline

- In 2017, Liu became the first American girl to win the junior Wimbledon title since Chanda Rubin in 1992. Later that year, she made her senior Grand Slam debut at the US Open in both the singles and doubles draws. A qualifying wild card, she won three matches to reach the main draw, and she and Taylor Johnson received a wild card to the doubles draw by virtue of winning the USTA Girls’ 18s National Championship.


- At pro level, Liu might be best-known for being the only player to take a set off of eventual champion Angelique Kerber at Wimbledon in 2018. After qualifying, Liu beat Croatia's Ana Konjuh in the first round, and won the opening set against Kerber before losing a 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 second-round match.. The German went on to win her third career Grand Slam singles title at the All-England Club, beating Serena Williams in the final. 


- Also in her decorated junior career, Liu became became the first player in the storied 50-year history of the Easter Bowl to win two titles in the 18-and-under division over a three-year span. In March 2015, she won her first USTA Pro Circuit title in Orlando, at 14, becoming the youngest woman to win a pro tournament since Anna Kournikova in 1996. 


- Liu first took tennis lessons at age 5, and honed her game on the courts of the USTA's West Coast training center in Carson, Calif. — located 51 miles away from where she grew up. She was first coached by Mike Gennette, also the head coach at nearby California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, and later began working with USTA coach Chris Tontz.


- Liu is the daughter of Chinese immigrants to the United States, Longbin and Wen, both of whom are chemists.

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