Wimbledon jr. wrap:
Four American finalists
Arthur Kapetanakis | July 15, 2019
American juniors were ever-present at Wimbledon’s final weekend, with a total of four U.S. players competing in the singles and doubles finals. Of the four finalists, Savannah Broadus and Abigail Forbes took top honors as girls’ doubles champions. Alexa Noel fell in the girls’ singles final, while Govind Nanda was turned back in the boys’ doubles finale.
Noel (pictured above, left), in making the deepest junior Team USA singles run of the fortnight, won all 10 sets she played en route to the final. Her best performance came in a 6-2, 6-1 semifinal demolition of Diane Parry, the No. 4 seed from France. In Saturday’s championship match, Noel met the same fate as Serena Williams in the ladies’ single final, falling in two sets to unseeded Ukrainian Daria Snigur, 6-4, 6-4.
Top-seeded Emma Navarro was one win away from making it an all-American final, but after winning three consecutive comeback three-setters, the 18-year-old ran out of steam against Snigur in the semis, 6-3, 6-0. ADVERTISEMENT Navarro also teamed with Chloe Beck to reach the girls’ doubles quarterfinals as the No. 7 seed.
Fifteen-year-old Martin Damm (above, right) led the American boys’ charge by reaching the singles semifinals, where he was edged, 10-8 in third set, by eventual champion Shintaro Mochizuki of Japan. Damm, seeded fourth, dropped just one set (in Round 1) in his four Wimbledon victories. His lefty serve was clocked as high as 131 mph at the event.
The son of the former Czech tennis player of the same name, Damm has recently spent time working with USTA Player Development (PD). Speaking to zootennis.com, the junior world No. 4 credited Dr. Larry Lauer—a mental skills specialist for PD—and his staff for much of his recent success.
"It's for sure mental, though obviously tennis-wise as well,” he told the website. “Before Kalamazoo [where Damm won the boys’ 16s singles title in August], I had a couple tough tournaments, so we sat down with the USTA coaches, my agent, my dad. I've put in a lot of work on the mental side, and to be honest, that's the biggest key to my success lately. All the routines, what we've set up in practices, in our talks… I think a lot of the matches I've won against the older guys, it's more the mental side than the physical."
Damm also reached the boys’ doubles semis at Wimbledon, alongside compatriot Toby Alex Kodat, the ITF’s No. 10-ranked boy. The No. 3 seeds fell in three sets to top seeds and eventual champions Jonas Forejtek and Jiri Lehecka. Nanda went one better, with Canadian partner Liam Draxl, before bowing out to the Czech champions in the final.
But it was the girls’ doubles competition that ended in American triumph, as Broadus and Forbes claimed the title, 7-5, 5-7, 6-2, over Oksana Selekhmeteva of Russia and Kamile Bartone of Latvia. The unseeded champions dropped just two sets in five tournament matches; they also dropped an opening-set tiebreak to the No. 2 seeds in the quarterfinals, setting the stage for a dramatic comeback that ended at 9-7 in the third against Russians Alina Charaeva and Anastasia Tikhonova.
Both doubles champions improved their ITF World Junior Rankings to career highs. Forbes, who also notched a singles victory at Wimbledon, improved to No. 23, while Broadus broke new ground at No. 28. That makes it six American girls in the Top 30, including Noel, who improved to No. 7 (two spots off her career high of No. 5) with her final run.
There are also six U.S. boys in the Top 30, led by Damm, whose semifinal run lifted him to a career high of No. 4.