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Tuesday, July 3, 2018

2017 Girls Champion Liu's Grass Court Streak Continues with Wimbledon Win, Joins 17 Americans in Second Round; Six Americans Reach Roehampton G1 Quarterfinals; Wimbledon Junior Wild Cards Include Argentina's Baez

Last year on England's grass courts, Claire Liu went 12-0, capturing both the ITF Grade 1 at Roehampton and the Wimbledon girls championship the following week.  The former ITF Junior No. 1, who won three matches in women's qualifying last week, now has a grass-court winning streak of 16 with her first slam main draw win today, a 6-2, 6-7(2), 6-3 victory over Ana Konjuh of Croatia. The 18-year-old, who would still be eligible for junior events if she wished to play them, had not had the best start to the year, with a 6-11 main draw record on the ITF and WTA circuits, but with her qualifying results and her win today, she should improve on her WTA ranking career-high ranking of 181.

2015 Kalamazoo 18s champion Frances Tiafoe, who has had his share of bad draws in the majors,  picked up his first slam victory over a seed, beating No. 30 Fernando Verdasco of Spain 7-6(5), 7-6(6), 3-6, 6-3. No. 18 seed Jack Sock's dismal year continued as he was unable to close out a two set lead over ATP No. 81 Matteo Berrettini of Italy. Overall, Americans finished the first round with a 18-13 record, with the men going 8-6 and the women 10-7, but three seeded Americans were among those losing. Not that that was unusual, as a total of 21 seeds lost in the first round, a Wimbledon record (32 seeds were introduced in 2001).

Tuesday’s Wimbledon first round matches featuring Americans:

Women: 6-3
Daria Gavrilova[26](AUS) def. Caroline Dolehide[LL] 6-2, 6-3
Sachia Vickery def. Marketa Vondrousova(SVK) 6-1, 6-2
Elise Mertens[15](BEL) def. Danielle Collins 6-3, 6-2
Sonya Kenin def. Maria Sakkari(GRE) 6-4, 1-6, 6-1
Taylor Townsend def. Pauline Parmentier(FRA) 6-2, 6-4
Jennifer Brady def. Kateryna Kozlova(UKR) 6-2, 6-7(4), 6-2
Claire Liu[Q] def. Ana Konjuh(CRO) 6-2, 6-7(2), 6-3
Alison Riske def. Mariana Duque-Marino[LL](COL) 6-1, 6-1
Vera Lapko[BLR) def. Christina McHale 5-7, 7-5, 7-5

Men: 3-3
Frances Tiafoe def. Fernando Verdasco[30](ESP) 7-6(6), 7-6(5), 3-6, 6-3
Bradley Klahn[Q] def. Yuichi Sugita(JPN) 2-6, 7-6(5), 6-2, 6-2
Novak Djokovic[12](SRB) def. Tennys Sandgren 6-3, 6-1, 6-2
Kei Nishikori[24](JPN) def. Christian Harrison[Q] 6-2, 4-6, 7-6(3), 6-2
Taylor Fritz def. Lorenzo Sonego[LL](ITA) 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2
Matteo Berrettini(ITA) def. Jack Sock[18] 6-7(5), 6-7(3), 6-4, 7-5, 6-2

Eight Americans are on Wednesday's schedule, which can be found here.

Wednesday's second round singles matches featuring Americans:

Serena Williams[25] v. Viktoriya Tomova(BUL)
Venus Williams[9] v. Alexandra Dulgheru(ROU) 
Madison Keys[10] v. Luksika Kumkhum(THA)
Madison Brengle v. Camila Giorgi(ITA)

Sam Querrey[11] v. Sergiy Stakhovsky(UKR)
John Isner[9] v. Ruben Bemelmans(BEL)
Jared Donaldson v. Stefanos Tsitsipas[31](GRE)
Mackenzie McDonald v. Nicolas Jarry(CHI)
Ryan Harrison v. Adrian Mannarino[22](FRA)

The quarterfinals are set at the ITF Grade 1 in Roehampton, with few upsets in the girls draws and four Americans still in the hunt for the title.  Top seed Whitney Osuigwe and No. 12 seed Caty McNally, who are doubles partners, could meet in the semifinals if both win on Wednesday. Osuigwe faces No. 6 seed Maria Osorio Serrano of Colombia and McNally's quarterfinal opponent is No. 4 seed Xinyu Wang of China. In the bottom half, No. 3 seed Coco Gauff will face No. 8 seed Yuki Naito of Japan and No. 5 seed Alexa Noel plays Australian Open girls champion En Shuo Liang of Taiwan. 

Two US boys remain in the boys draw, with unseeded Brandon Nakashima and No. 2 seed Sebastian Korda both in the bottom half.  Nakahima defeated No. 6 seed Adrian Andreev of Bulgaria 6-4, 6-3 and will face unseeded Titouan Droguet of France in the quarterfinals. Korda, a 6-4, 6-2 winner over No. 14 seed Aidan McHugh of Great Britain, will play No. 7 seed Naoki Tajima of Japan in the quarterfinals. Unlike the girls draw, which features 7 of top 8 seeds in the quarterfinals, the boys draw has just three seeds: Korda, Tajima and No. 16 seed Lorenzo Musetti of Italy. 

The doubles quarterfinals are also set for Wednesday, with Easter Bowl champions Trey Hilderbrand and Govind Nanda the only US boys to advance to the final eight. Five US girls are still in the doubles, with ISC Carson Grade 1 champions Katie Volynets and Natasha Subhash unseeded quarterfinalists. No. 2 seeds Osuigwe and McNally, the Eddie Herr champions, will play No. 6 seeds Georgia Drummy of Ireland and Alexa Noel. 

Wimbledon sent out a list of the wild cards it has distributed for the Junior Championships and a surprising name was at the top of the boys list, World No. 2 Sebastian Baez of Argentina. Baez, a finalist at the French Open juniors this year, failed to enter by the deadline, although I don't know if it was an oversight or a change of plans. Anyway, if Chun Hsin Tseng of Taiwan is healthy after retiring in the first round at Roehampton, that gives the boys draw all of the current ITF Top 10, which is quite rare.

With only four wild cards given to the girls, the next four direct acceptances are in, which I think keeps Hurricane Tyra Black from having to qualify.

The Wimbledon junior main draw wild cards:

1 Victoria ALLEN (GBR)
2 Francesca JONES (GBR)
3 Destinee MARTINS (GBR)
5 Not used - Next direct acceptance
6 Not used - Next direct acceptance
7 Not used - Next direct acceptance
8 Not used - Next direct acceptance

1 Sebastian BAEZ (ARG)
5 Emile HUDD (GBR)
7 Connor THOMSON (GBR)