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Thursday, July 6, 2017

Riffice and Liu Reach Roehampton G1 Final; US Girls Seeded 1,2,3 at Wimbledon Junior Championships; Six Americans Advance to Final Round of Wimbledon Junior Qualifying

Claire Liu and Sam Riffice have moved into the singles finals at the ITF Grade 1 in Roehampton, the first time in the tournament's history, which dates back to 1996, that both finals will feature an American.  Liu, the No. 2 seed, beat No. 3 seed and Australian Open girls champion Marta Kostyuk of Ukraine 6-2, 7-6(6) and will face unseeded Orange Bowl champion Kaja Juvan of Slovenia for the title.  Juvan advanced with a 6-2, 6-7(5), 6-4 win over No. En Shuo Liang of Taiwan.

For the second consecutive match, Riffice came from a set down, defeating  Emil Ruusuvuori of Finland 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 in a battle of unseeded players.  The boys final will also be between two unseeded players, with Stanford incoming freshman Axel Geller of Argentina beating No. 10 seed Yshai Oliel of Israel 6-3, 7-6(4). Riffice and Geller played back in January of this year at the Grade 1 in Costa Rica, with Riffice winning it 7-5, 7-6(7).

In the girls doubles, top seeds Liu and Taylor Johnson will face No. 2 seeds Kostyuk and Carson Branstine of Canada in Friday's final. Liu and Johnson defeated No. 4 seeds Xin Yu Wang and Xiyu Wang of China 6-2, 3-6, 10-5 and Branstine and Kostyuk also advanced by winning a match tiebreaker, as they got past No. 3 seeds Caty McNally and Whitney Osuigwe 6-2, 4-6, 10-5.

Riffice, playing with Duarte Vale of Portugal, lost his doubles semifinal to Sebastian Korda and Colombia's Nicolas Mejia 6-2, 7-5.  Korda and Mejia will play Louis Dussin and Hugo Gaston in the final, after the French pair earned a 6-7(5), 7-6(3), 10-6 win over No. 8 seeds Dan Added of France and Zizou Bergs of Belgium. Gaston and Dussin received special exemptions into the Wimbledon juniors main draw by virtue of that victory today.

In addition to the Roehampton championship matches, the final round of qualifying for the Wimbledon Junior Championships will take place tomorrow at Roehampton, with six US players still in contention: Natasha Subhash[10], 13-year-old wild card Cori Gauff, Victoria Flores[4], Hurricane Tyra Black[7], Brian Cernoch[1] and Lukas Greif[10].

The draws for the Wimbledon Junior Championships, which I'll begin covering live on Saturday, came out after the completion of play at Roehampton today.  Ten US boys and ten US girls are in the main draw, with the top three seeds in the girls draw from the United States: Kayla Day[1], Whitney Osuigwe[2] and Claire Liu[3].  No. 7 seed Taylor Johnson, who was not in the initial acceptances, received a wild card.  The other six American girls in the draw are Ann Li, Ellie Douglas, Sofia Sewing[14], Elysia Bolton, Hailey Baptiste and Caty McNally.

The top seed in the boys draw is Corentin Moutet of France, who received a wild card and is seeded No. 1 due to his ATP ranking of 341.  Moutet was also the top seed at Roehampton, but went out in the first round. No. 2 seed Yibing Wu of China also lost in the first round at Roehampton.

Two US boys are seeds, No. 7 Trent Bryde and No. 10 Oliver Crawford.  The other eight American boys in the main draw are Alafia Ayeni, Danny Thomas, Alexandre Rotsaert, Gianni Ross, Patrick Kypson, Sebastian Korda, Sam Riffice and Vasil Kirkov.

The Americans playing in the women's and men's draws today at Wimbledon didn't have the best of days.  John Isner[23] and Jack Sock[17] suffered surprising five-set losses to Dudi Sela of Israel and Sebastian Ofner of Austria respectively, while Frances Tiafoe and Ryan Harrison were beaten by Alexander Zverev[10] of Germany and Tomas Berdych[11] of the Czech Republic.  Jared Donaldson joins Sam Querrey[24] and Steve Johnson[26] in the third round after beating No. 32 seed Paolo Lorenzi of Italy 6-4, 7-6(0), 6-7(0), 6-2.

The US women got wins from Shelby Rogers, Alison Riske and CoCo Vandeweghe[24], who join Venus Williams[10] and Madison Brengle in the third round.  Rogers defeated No. 32 seed Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-3 and Riske took out No. 12 seed Kristina Mladenovic of France 2-6, 6-4, 6-4.  Vandeweghe, who was a popular dark horse pick even before the losses by Petra Kvitova and Karolina Pliskova, defeated Tatjana Maria of Germany 6-4, 6-2 today and will face Riske in Saturday's third round.

Those three victories were overshadowed by the horrible knee injury suffered by wild card Bethanie Mattek-Sands in the opening game of the third set in her match with Sorana Cirstea of Romania.  Mattek-Sands was removed from the court on a stretcher and her dream of a career slam in doubles with Safarova is over for this year.


Guest said...

Colette, last night's Final Jeopardy question said that reaching the Wimbledon quarter finals entitled you to free tickets and free tea for life. Is this right? Seems like the TV announcers would talk about it on occasion, but I've never heard it mentioned.

How many tickets. 1? 2? 4?

Colette Lewis said...

Yes, I believe that's correct. I wrote a story about the US Open version of that "Final 8 Club" back in 2011, when Jack Sock made the mixed semis there. He and Melanie Oudin went on to win the title. It's available here.