WIMBLEDON – Canada was well-represented in the juniors at Wimbledon this year – notably on the girls’ side.
With Victoria Mboko, Kayla Cross, Annabelle Xu and Mia Kupres all in the singles and doubles draws, the standout performance was by Mboko and Cross.
The pair, who reached the Australian Open junior girls’ doubles final earlier in the year, went all the way to the final at Wimbledon, losing a tight one (11-9 in the match tiebreak).
Cross (in the third round) and Mboko (in the semifinals) both lost to eventual champion Liv Hovde.
In Cross’s case, it came after Hawkeye overturned a call on match point for her, against Hovde. And that only happened because they happened to be scheduled on a court where there was still pro play, and Hawkeye was still active.
We discussed that, and what’s next, after their defeat.
Annabelle Xu, 18, went to the third round before being defeated by eventual finalist Luca Udvardy of Hungary.
Kupres lost to No. 2 seed Céline Naef in the second round.
Here’s what she looked like.
On the boys’ side, Jaden Weekes was the only representative. He, too, only lost to the crème de la créme, bowing out 7-5, 7-6 (4) to the No. 3 seed, Mili Poljicak of Croatia in the second round, after reaching the semifinals in the tuneup event in Roehampton the previous week.
Poljicak went on to win the Wimbledon junior boys’ title.
Here’s the athletic and photogenic Weekes in action – both in his first-round win over Peter Nad of Slovakia, and in his close loss to Poljicak.
Bucket-list moment for the Xu family
Xu also had a moment which may well go down as a bucket-list moment in the Xu family.
She was able to play doubles with her younger sister Naomi, who is as … feisty as big sister Annabelle is (outwardly) calm.
They won a round, too, coming back for a 2-6, 6-4, 10-7 over Obradovic and Sagandikova in the first round.
Naomi Xu got a wild card into the main draw in Saskatoon this week, while older sister Annabelle didn’t play.
The 15-year-old, three years younger than her big sister, is ranked No. 116 in the ITF junior rankings. This is her first-ever pro event.
Xu took a set in a first-round singles loss. But she and partner Isabelle Chhiv of the U.S. advanced to the quarterfinals in doubles.
Here’s the “elder” Xu in singles at Wimbledon.
First time in a decade
It had been almost exactly 10 years to the day that Canadians Eugenie Bouchard and Françoise Abanda square off in the girls’ doubles semifinals (Bouchard with American Taylor Townsend and Abanda with American Sachia Vickery).
On the same court, too – No. 18.
Back then, Bouchard ended up taking the doubles title, not long after she beat Elina Svitolina to win the girls’ singles title.