September 28, 2021

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Two Canadians qualify for junior Wimbledon girls’ singles

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Two young Canadian girls who went through the junior qualifying at Roehampton earlier this week have qualified for the Wimbledon girls’ singles draw.

Kayla Cross, 16 in March and seeded No. 13, defeated Kristina Paskauskas of Great Britain 6-2, 6-2 in the first round, and followed that up with a 7-5, 6-3 win over Melisa Ercan of Turkey.

Xu, who turned 17 in March, beat British wild card Issey Purser 6-0, 6-3 in the first round. And then she posted a 7-5, 6-3 victory over No. 12 seed Anastasiia Gureva of Russia.

It was all the more impressive as both were stepping on grass for the first time in a competitive match.

They were scheduled to play the Roehamption Grade 1 tournament last week. But some sort of bureaucratic snafu resulted in them having to wait for the Wimbledon qualifying to make their debuts.

Here’s the girls’ singles draw.

Tough Slam debut for Cross

Cross, currently No. 78 in the ITF junior rankings, has played sparingly at the top Grade 1 junior level. She will be making her junior Grand Slam debut against a seasoned opponent in No. 8 seed Linda Fruhvirtova of the Czech Republic.

Fruhvirtova, who is two months younger than Cross, is already ranked No. 355 on the WTA Tour and is 16-4 at the pro level this season.

Given a wild card into the Miami Open qualifying and also into the main draw of the WTA 250 in Charleston in April, she announced her presence by reaching the quarterfinals there.

Fruhvirtova won the Grade 1 tuneup in Roehampton last week, played while the Canadian girls were in the qualifying.

Xu vs. Palicova

Xu made her junior Slam debut at Roland Garros last month

Xu will play Barbora Palicova of the Czech Republic in the first round. Palicova – exactly a week younger than Xu – reached the semifinals in Roehampton and is No. 54 in the junior rankings.

Xu is at a career high No. 61 after reaching the second round of singles and doubles in her junior Grand Slam debut at Roland Garros. She and Palicova were doubles partners in Paris.

So that’s about as fair a fight as you can have.

The two met in the semifinals of a Grade 1 tournament in Prague on indoor carpet, back in Jan. 2020. Palicova won, 6-3 in the third set.

There are no Canadian boys in either the qualifying or main draws.