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Saturday, 15 July 2017 17:25 PM BST
Americans dominate as Liu claims girls' title
Recent Roland Garros runner-up Claire Liu goes one better in SW19 to beat Ann Li on No.1 Court READ MORE

Californian teenager Claire Liu put her recent Roland Garros near-miss behind her to become the first American to lift the girls’ singles trophy at Wimbledon since Chanda Rubin in 1992.

After finishing second best to another American, Whitney Osuigwe, in the junior final in Paris, Liu kept her head long enough to beat another promising youngster from the US, Ann Li, 6-2, 5-7, 6-2 on No.1 Court.

Liu let out a huge sigh of relief when she finally crossed the finish line after an hour and 47 minutes having missed three chances to wrap up victory deep in the second set.

The 17-year-old junior world No.2 was leading by a set, 5-4, 40-0 only to see those three opportunities vanish and her opponent work her way back into the match.

Having lost that second set 7-5, Liu’s response was admirable though, quickly deleting the memory banks and playing a more water-tight decider than Pennsylvania’s Li, also 17.

Once Liu had opened up a 3-1 advantage in the third, she kept her foot on the accelerator en route to her first junior Grand Slam singles crown.

"It feels amazing," Liu said. "I just keep smiling all the time. I still can't even believe it. It's like a dream come true. Being able to play both the French Open and Wimbledon finals is definitely an accomplishment I think already, win or lose. I think being able to get this match is really, really sweet."

The last 12 months represents a breakthrough period for Liu, who is based at the same facility as men’s semi-finalist Sam Querrey, the StubHub Center at California State University, just outside Los Angeles.

I just keep smiling all the time. I still can't even believe it. It's like a dream come true

- Claire Liu

"I see him training a lot. Definitely he's a great role model to look up to because he just works so hard. He's done so well this year and last year here at Wimbledon."

Liu won the girls’ doubles at Wimbledon 12 months ago, and as well as the runner-up spot in Paris last month, she left with the trophy at last week’s junior ITF Grade 1 event in Roehampton for a grass-court double in south-west London.

The right-hander has also seen her WTA ranking climb to a career-best No.281 in recent weeks after she won two professional ITF events in the US.

Although runner-up Li will perhaps leave SW19 disappointed, she can take heart from playing her part in a golden few weeks for American junior tennis.

Saturday’s contest was the first all-American girls’ final at Wimbledon since 1979 and was the second successive Grand Slam girls’ singles final between players from the US.

The Americans won't be represented in Sunday's boys' final, however, which will see Argentine Axel Geller take on Spaniard Alejandro Davidovich Fokina for the title.

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