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Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Young Fans Boost Boyer to Victory as Six Americans Advance to Third Round at Wimbledon Junior Championships, Girls No. 2 Seed Liang Out

©Colette Lewis 2018--
Wimbledon--

French Open champions Chun Hsin Tseng and Coco Gauff kept their hopes alive for a second straight junior slam with wins today, but Australian Open champion En Shuo Liang saw her opportunity for another slam title slip away, with the 17-year-old from Taiwan losing to China's Qinwen Zheng 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 on a dry and cool day at the Wimbledon Junior Championships.

The match featured many more unforced errors than winners, with both girls struggling to find any sort of rhythm, but the 15-year-old Zheng stayed positive to claim a spot in the third round in her first appearance at Wimbledon.

Zheng is one of three Chinese players in the third round, with No. 4 seed Xinyu Wang and No. 10 seed Xiyu Wang also advancing.

Three American girls have also reached the third round, but there will be no all-US girls final as was the case last year, with all three in the bottom half of the draw.  Gauff, the No. 3 seed, defeated Lenka Stara of Slovakia 6-1, 7-5, and Caty McNally, the No. 13 seed, defeated British wild card Destinee Martin 6-0, 6-4, with Zheng McNally's next opponent.  The third American, Lea Ma, reached the third round in a major for the first time by avenging a loss earlier this year to No. 8 seed Clara Tauson of Denmark by a 7-6(2), 7-6(4).

There were no breaks in the first set, and Ma was not able to hold on to her only break in the second set, but the 17-year-old said she didn't get nervous in the second set tiebreaker.

"I played really well today," said Ma, who has been at IMG since January. "I was playing with no pressure. Obviously, she's higher ranked and she younger than me, but I played a lot better than I did the first time."

Ma lost 6-3, 6-0 in the quarterfinals of the Grade A in Brazil earlier this year, and agreed it was possible that the 15-year-old Tauson had taken her lightly prior to the match.

"She beat me so easily the first time," Ma said. "I was so tight in that match, because I was so much older than her and I thought I should win that match. She was missing quite a bit today, I don't think she was playing her best."

Ma lost in the first round at Roehampton, but used the time between tournaments to practice on grass, which she is learning to like.

"I was still getting used to grass, it was my first match on grass and that grass is pretty bad," Ma said. "The first set, I don't think I made a return. I wasn't ready to play on grass yet. I was practicing like three times a day after that, trying to get used to the grass, and I'm feeling a lot better on this grass now and I'm feeling I can really hit the ball."

Ma will face No. 10 Wang in Wednesday's third round.

Trey Hilderbrand didn't need to be convinced that grass would be an ideal surface for his game, and he earned another opportunity to play on it again by defeating Louis Herman of Belgium 1-6, 7-6(4), 7-5.

Hilderbrand trailed most of the match, and was down 2-4, 15-40 in the third set, but he dug out of that hole, held and broke for 4-4.  Three more holds later, Herman was down 0-30, but he got it back to 30-all before Hilderbrand  put his net skills to work on the next point, scrambling to get a volley by Herman with both players at the net.

"I thought he hit a winner," Hilderbrand said. "I was about to dive for it, then I realized I could actually get it."

On match point, Herman missed his first serve, and Hilderbrand never hesitated on what tactic he would use.

"I said I'm going to put pressure on him and just come in," said the 18-year-old Texan, who came into the net an astounding 157 times. "It had been working a good amount, but then he would pass me, but I think I probably won more than I lost, so I decided to go to net. His serve actually skidded off the court and luckily my racquet was right there and it took off and I hit a great return somehow."


On the adjacent court, No. 11 seed Tristan Boyer was also locked in a close third set, but he needed a few more games to pull out his 6-7(6), 6-4, 9-7 win over Jesper De Jong of the Netherlands.

Boyer, who had never played an advantage set before, said he felt comfortable throughout the final games.

"It wasn't that different I guess," Boyer said. "I kind of got in a serving rhythm and I think I slowly applied some pressure on the serve, found what I could do on his serve without doing too much and giving him an easy hold."

In the final game, with De Jong serving, Boyer said he increased his energy level and didn't get discouraged despite seeing four match points come and go.

"He saved three with first serves, two aces and one forced error return," Boyer said. "The fourth one, I missed a second serve return, so that was tough, but aside from that it was a solid game and that's why I broke him."

Boyer had a vocal cheering section, although he wasn't acquainted with his young fans.

"There were these four little girls, the cutest little girls I've ever seen in my life, sitting there in the front row," Boyer said. "That was really cool, and it made me smile a lot. In this match and in my match before, there have been a few people who have been a really good crowd and it keeps me really loose on the court which I think is good. If you are playing and you're so intense, it doesn't feel good and it's not as fun, and I think it impedes performance as well. So it was nice to have the cheering squad."

Boyer is not likely to have the crowd on his side on Wednesday, when he plays Great Britain's Jack Draper, who beat No. 7 seed Adrian Andreev of Bulgaria 6-3, 6-0.  Draper defeated Boyer 6-1, 6-2 in the first round last week at the Grade 1 in Roehampton, so Boyer knows what to expect.

"He's been playing a lot on the grass the past month, got some wild cards, so he's very comfortable on it," Boyer said. "We watched all his matches until he lost (in the semifinals) in Roehampton, because that's how you learn to play, watching someone who is better than you in a particular situation, so we have a pretty good read on what he does. These courts are different from Roehampton, much faster, much better bounces, nicer courts; it should be fun."

"I really hope those four girls and their mom come back," Boyer said.

Cannon Kingsley is the third American boy to reach the third round, with the 17-year-old from New York also getting through in three sets. Kingsley defeated Taisei Ichikawa of Japan 6-4, 1-6, 6-1 to advance to the third round of a Grade A for the first time.

Roehampton champion Brandon Nakishima was not seeded this week, but was definitely one of the favorites. His grass court streak ended abruptly however at the hands of No. 6 seed and former ITF World No. 1 junior Timofei Skatov of Kazakhstan, who played flawless tennis to earn a 6-3, 6-4 victory.

Skatkov and Boyer are two of only five seeds remaining in the boys draw, while nine seeds are still alive in the girls draw.

The first round of doubles began on Tuesday, with Hurricane Tyra Black the only American in action who was unable to earn a victory.  No. 2 seeds McNally and Whitney Osuigwe, the 2017 Wimbledon girls finalists, lost only three games in their win over Gergana Topalova of Bulgaria and Daniela Vismane of Latvia.

The complete order of play for Wednesday is available here.

Caty McNally[13] def. Destinee Martin[WC](GBR) 6-0, 6-4
Xiyu Wang[10](CHN) def. Peyton Stearns[Q] 6-2 ,6-1
Timofei Skatov[6](KAZ) def. Brandon Nakashima 6-3, 6-4
Viktoriia Dema(UKR) def. Alexa Noel[5] 6-3, 6-3
Cannon Kingsley def. Taisei Ichikawa(JPN) 6-4, 1-6, 6-1
Nicolas Alvarez Varona(ESP) def. Govind Nanda[Q] 3-6, 6-4, 6-2
Hugo Gaston[4](FRA) def. Emilio Nava 6-1, 6-4
Elisabetta Cocciaretto[14](ITA) def. Katie Volynets 7-5, 6-4
Coco Gauff[3] def. Lenka Stara(SVK) 6-1, 7-5
Lea Ma def. Clara Tauson[8](DEN) 7-6(2), 7-6(4)
Ondrej Styler[Q](CZE) def. Drew Baird[15] 6-7(7), 7-5, 6-1
Maria Carle[15](ARG) def. Dalayna Hewitt 6-4, 6-3
Trey Hilderbrand def. Louis Herman(BEL) 1-6, 7-6(4), 7-5
Tristan Boyer[11] def. Jesper De Jong(NED) 6-7(6), 6-4, 9-7

Wednesday's round of 16 matches featuring American juniors:
Tristan Boyer[11] v Jack Draper(GBR)
Trey Hilderbrand v Nicolas Alvarez Varona(ESP)
Caty McNally[13] v Qinwen Zheng(CHN)
Coco Gauff[3] v Maria Carle[15](ARG)
Lea Ma v Xiyu Wang[10](CHN)
Cannon Kingsley v Nicolas Mejia([5]COL)

Men’s quarterfinal featuring American:
John Isner[9] v Milos Raonic[13](CAN)

Wednesday's American women's singles quarterfinal result:
Serena Williams[25] def. Camilia Giorgi(ITA) 3-6, 6-3, 6-4

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