Liu Tops Li in all-U.S. Wimbledon Girls’ Final

Erin Maher | July 15, 2017

For the first time in 25 years, an American girl has secured the Wimbledon junior crown.


Claire Liu of Thousand Oaks, Calif., defeated fellow American Ann Li in a three-set battle, 6-2, 5-7, 6-2, to win her first Grand Slam junior singles title. It was the second-ever All-American girls’ final and the first singles title. It was the second-ever All-American girls’ final and the first since 1979, when Mary Lou Piatek defeated Alycia Moulton for the championship.


The all-American final comes on the heels of another all-U.S. affair at the French Open, where Liu fell to compatriot Whitney Osuigwe in the title match, and completes an excellent showing for the U.S. girls in London. Five of the eight girls’ singles quarterfinalists hailed from the U.S.



The third-seeded Liu swept the first set over the unseeded Li, converting two break opportunities. She kept the momentum going in the second set, where she held three match points on her own serve at 5-4, 40-0. But Li didn’t go down easily, saving the three match points and taking the last three games to force a third set.


But in the end, Liu proved too strong, pulling ahead early and closing out the match to win her second Wimbledon title in two years. In 2016, she won the Wimbledon girls’ doubles title with Usue Arconada.


The 17-year-old Liu is the first American to claim the girls’ singles title since Chanda Rubin in 1992. Liu came into Wimbledon at a career-high No. 2 ITF World Juniors Ranking and has been sailing on success for much of 2017, having taken the Easter Bowl title in April and the Roehampton title on grass prior to Wimbledon, in addition to her run in Paris.  


Li, who hails from Devon, Pa., was a sleeper in her maiden Wimbledon tournament. She entered the draw ranked No. 44 in the world junior rankings. But in her first trip to the All England Club, she upset No. 11 seed Olga Danilovic and top seed and 2016 US Open junior champion Kayla Day in the quarterfinals.


This was only Li’s third career Grand Slam tournament, having competed previously in the 2015 and 2016 US Open Junior Championships. 




In other American junior action Saturday at Wimbledon, the all-U.S. squad of Osuigwe and Caty McNally, the fourth seeds, advanced to the girls' doubles final with a 6-2, 6-2 victory over top seeds Carson Branstine of Canada and Ukraine's Marta Lostyuk. They will face Danilovic and Slovakia's Kaja Juvan in Sunday's final. 



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