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Thursday, June 28, 2018

Liu, Harrison, Klahn Qualify for Wimbledon; USA's Connolly Trophy Team Dominates First Day; Qualifying Begins Friday for Roehampton ITF Grade 1

Three Americans have qualified for the main draw at Wimbledon, with Bradley Klahn returning to the AELTC for the first time since 2014 and Claire Liu and Christian Harrison making their professional debuts there.

Klahn, the 2010 NCAA champion as a Stanford sophomore, didn't drop a set in advancing through three rounds of qualifying, beating Simone Bolelli of Italy 6-3, 6-4, 7-6(3) in the final best-of-five qualifying round today at Roehampton.  Harrison defeated former UNC star Brayden Schnur of Canada 7-6(3), 7-5, 6-1 to earn his first main draw berth in a major since he qualified for the US Open in 2016.  Liu, who won the ITF Grade 1 in Roehampton last year on the same courts where the qualifying is played, defeated Nicole Gibbs 6-4, 6-3 to advance to the SW19 courts where she won her Wimbledon girls title last year.

For more on the 24-year-old Harrison's long road through years of illness and injury, see this article from Wimbledon.com.

In addition to Klahn, two other former collegiate stars reached the main draw through qualifying: Tennessee's JP Smith of Australia beat Michael Mmoh 6-2, 6-4, 6-3, and Clemson's Yannick Maden of Germany came from two sets down to defeat Jurgen Melzer of Austria 5-7, 3-6, 7-6(6), 6-4, 6-3 in three hours and 26 minutes.

In doubles qualifying, former Alabama stars Erin Routliffe of New Zealand and Alexa Guarachi of Chile advanced through qualifying to the main draw, as did Austin Krajicek (Texas A&M), with partner Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan(Washington) of India. Germany's Andres Begemann, the former Pepperdine star, also will be in the main draw after qualifying with Yasutaka Uchiyama of Japan.  Routliffe is interviewed here about her decision to make the trip to England without knowing if she and Guarachi would even get into the doubles qualifying.

The singles draws will be out tomorrow at 10 a.m. British time.

Thursday's final round qualifying results involving Americans:

Christian Harrison def. Brayden Schnur(CAN) 7-6(3), 7-5, 6-1
J.P. Smith(AUS) def. Michael Mmoh[19] 6-2, 6-4, 6-3
Bradley Klahn def. Simone Bolelli(ITA) 6-3, 6-4, 7-6(3)

Mona Barthel[8](GER) def. Jamie Loeb 7-5, 6-1
Vera Zvonareva(RUS) def. Caroline Dolehide[6] 6-2, 6-3
Claire Liu[WC] def. Nicole Gibbs[5] 6-4, 6-3

Prior to the ITF Grade 1 in Roehampton's Sunday start, the US girls compete against a British team in the Maureen Connolly Trophy during the WTA event at Eastbourne.  This year's USA team could accurately be described as the Dream Team, as it consists of Whitney Osuigwe, Coco Gauff, Caty McNally, Katie Volynets and Alexa Noel and, no surprise, they went 6-0 against Great Britain in the opening day of play.  Holly Fischer is the best known of the British competitors; Emma Raducanu, who won a $15,000 ITF Women's Circuit event last month, is not on the British team, nor is Francesca Jones, who also has had success on the ITF Pro Circuit recently.

An LTA press release on the event contains comments from Caty McNally and USA Team captain Jamea Jackson.

Maureen Connolly Trophy Results, Thursday, June 28

Cori Gauff d. Victoria Allen 6-2, 6-1

Whitney Osuigwe d. Destinee Martins 7-5, 5-7, 6-4

Caty McNally d. Holly Fischer 6-3, 6-3

Alexa Noel d. Nell Miller 6-1, 6-2

Noel & Volynets d. Allen & Martins 7-6, 6-4

Gauff & McNally d. Fischer & Miller 6-1, 6-1

Qualifying begins Friday for the ITF Grade 1 in Roehampton, with three American boys among the 32 players vying for a main draw spot: William Woodall, Govind Nanda[6] and Keenan Mayo[12].  There are no US girls are in qualifying, but 11 are expected to compete in the main draw. Eight US boys, including Australian Open champion Sebastian Korda, are scheduled to compete in the main draw.