Wimbledon – Liu Brings Trophy Home

At the beginning of The Championships, Southern California was well represented in all the tournament draws. Players who grew up and/or train in the section made, along with the wretched weather, an impression, on a regular basis during the fortnight. But, on the final day of play at the All England Lawn Tennis Club, only one local competitor brought a winner’s trophy home.

Claire Liu and Usue Maitane Arconada Photo Susan Mullane_ camerawork usa

Claire Liu and Usue Maitane Arconada Photo Susan Mullane_ camerawork usa

Claire Liu and Usue Maitane Arconada, who was born in Argentine, moved to Puerto Rico as a youngster and now trains in Florida, raced past Mariam Bolkvadze of Georgia and Caty McNally of Cincinnati, 6-2, 6-3, in the Girls’ Doubles final. Liu and Arconada’s sprint ended just two minutes short of an hour. In the dash, they won 62 points to their opponent’s 46. More importantly, they were able to convert four of the nine service break points that came their way.

Of the five matches the champions played, two were three set trials. In the first round, Yuki Naito of Japan and Lara Salden of Belgium were 6-1, 2-6, 6-2 competitive in one hour, 29 minutes. (Liu defeated Salden, 6-2, 6-2 in her second round singles match.) In the quarterfinals, at one hour and 41 minutes their longest match, they downed Sofia Kenin and Monika Kilnarova of the Czech Republic, 6-1, 7-6, 6-3.

Claire Liu Photo Susan Mullane_ camerawork usa

Claire Liu Photo Susan Mullane_ camerawork usa

In the semifinals, a contest between the No. 1 and No. 4 seeds, Anastasia Potapova of Russia, (who won the Girls’ Singles) and her countrywoman, Olesya Pervushina, were edged 7-5, 6-4 in an hour and five minutes. Following the match, Potapova admitted “I’m so tired after the (singles) final. I’m so tired, mentally. I’m so, so sad that I can’t show my best tennis in doubles. But, next time maybe.”

Prior to the doubles final, Mike Gennette, Liu’s coach, said, “It is very exciting. Claire had a good singles run too. But, it was tough for her to bounce back after the 13-11 third set win (over Amanda Anisimova) in the round of 16 and a three set doubles match that same day (against Kenin and Kilnarova). She wasn’t able to put up much of a fight in the quarterfinals, (a 6-1, 6-4 loss to Dayana Yastremska of Ukraine). So it was very nice to that she was still alive in doubles and had a chance to keep the Wimbledon dreams alive. Claire and Usue are both pretty active at the net, which has turned out to be the difference in their matches so far.”

 Claire Liu and Usue Maitane Arconada  celebrate Photo Susan Mullane_camerawork usa.

Claire Liu and Usue Maitane Arconada celebrate Photo Susan Mullane_camerawork usa.

Liu and Arconada were slow getting out of the starting gate. Down 2-0, against their unseeded opponents, they won nine straight games and took control of the final. The turnabout was the result of coming to the net as often as possible. Being aggressive was the key for the duo that was a quarterfinalist at the Metropolia Orange Bowl International Tennis Championship last December, the last time they played together.

With the trophy, Liu adds her name to the exclusive “Wimbledon wall” that lists all the tournament winners including Southern Californians, Stephanie Rehe and Sloane Stephens, who were the 1984 and 2010 Girls’ Doubles titlists. She will also have the to be treasured experience of attending the Champions Dinner, a fashion showcase gala where all the 2016 Wimbledon winners appear.

Mark Winters
Look for a fresh examination of tennis topics at “Mark’s Thoughts”.

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