Fourteen-year-old Mingge Xu has, in the past fortnight, begun to make some serious waves at National junior level, the Bridgend born youngster building on her remarkable victory in the 18-and-under National Championships 10 days ago to claim the 16-and-under Nationals, which concluded on Friday at the National Tennis Centre in Roehampton.
I am very proud to have won both of the Junior National events. I feel like I played the big points well in this match, but all credit to Hannah because she raised her game in the second set Mingge Xu
The fact that Xu defeated a 13-year-old, Surrey’s Hannah Klugman in a keenly contested final, 6-3 7-5, is testament to the competitiveness of an incentivised system that is seeing players deliver more, better and sooner.
For Xu, this was a significant moment in her fledgling career.
“I am very proud to have won both of the Junior National events,” she said. “I feel like I played the big points well in this match, but all credit to Hannah because she raised her game in the second set. She is only 13 and is already playing at such a high level. Now I have so much to look forward to in the next few weeks with qualifying for Wimbledon a big opportunity for me.”
Reward for her achievement, and that of sixteen-year old Henry Searle, from Wolverhampton, who won the boys event, will be prized wild cards into the main draws of Junior Wimbledon.
Their defeated opponents, Klugman and Bangor-born Welsh prospect Viktor Frydrych, who Searle defeated 6-4 6-4 in their final, will be offered places in the Junior Wimbledon qualifying draw.
Xu, as reported in Tennis Threads last week, will also play in the main qualifying draw for The Championships, her reward for winning the 18-and-under event.
“It is a fantastic achievement for Mimi to win both the 18s and 16s events this year,” enthused LTA Women’s National Coach, Katie O’Brien. “It was a high quality final.”
Searle’s achievement was equally impressive, not least as in his final, he reversed the result of his match against Frydrych at the 18’s just a week earlier.
“I played Vik last week and lost, so I needed to come up with a different game plan this time. I played pretty well in the final. It worked well and now I can’t wait to play at Junior Wimbledon this summer.”
A disappointed Frydrych acknowledged that he didn’t play his best game in the final.
“I didn’t start the match well and gave myself too much to do in the first set. All credit to Henry as he played well and deserved to get the victory.”
LTA boys 16-and-under coach Alex Lisieccki commented, “I’m very enthusiastic about this age group coming through. Henry and Viktor may have been the favourites to get to the final and they did a great job to get through. We saw a great final. I think they can go to a very good level in the next few years.”