Following in the footsteps of fellow Americans Serena and Venus Williams, who won the Wimbledon Women’s Doubles on Saturday, JTCC’s Usue Arconada and her partner Claire Liu claimed the Wimbledon Girls’ Doubles Championship yesterday with a resounding 6-2, 6-3 defeat of Caty McNally (USA) and Mariam Bolkvadze (GEO).
Arconada’s aggression at the net proved decisive in both sets and drew worthy praise from veteran announcer Barry Davies, who was calling the match for BBC television.
Not only were they the only Americans besides the Williams sisters to reach the podium at Wimbledon this year, their victory was also the first by an all-American Girls’ team at Wimbledon since Jennifer Capriati and Meredith McGrath won in 1989.
Arconada is JTCC’s fourth Junior Grand Slam Champion joining Philip Simmonds (2003 Australian Open Boys’ Doubles), Michael Shabaz (2005 US Open Boys’ Doubles) and Noppawan Lertcheewakarn (2008 US Open Girls’ Doubles, 2009 French Open Girls’ Doubles and 2009 Wimbledon Girls’ Singles and Doubles).
Seventeen-year old Arconada, and her 16-year-old partner Liu were the #4 seeds in doubles and upended the top-seeded Russian combination, Anastasia Potapova and Olesya Pervushina, 7-5, 6-4 in the semifinals. Potapova and Pervushina are #1 and #2, respectively, in the ITF Junior rankings.
Their closest contest came in the quarterfinals against the fifth seeds, Czech Monika Kilnarova and American Sofia Kenin. Arconada and Liu recovered from losing a second set tiebreaker to win 6-1, 6-7 (2), 6-3.
JTCC Senior Director of High Performance Frank Salazar, who coached Arconada, commented “Usue consistently played awesome tennis and showed great maturity at critical moments.”
Arconada and Liu are now looking ahead to teaming up again at the US Open Juniors in New York during September. A victory at Flushing Meadows would make them the first American pair to win the Wimbledon/US Open Girls’ titles back to back since Capriati/Meredith managed the same feat 27 years ago.