Two Brits kept the flag flying in the third round of the junior singles at Wimbledon on Wednesday, when the programme played catch-up after the previous day’s rain.
As a result, the boys were now a day behind the girls, who played their third round matches on Wednesday, and two Britons made it into last 16.
I’ve known Jamie from a while ago, but I’ve got know Andy better at this tournament, t’s great to be around him in general just to see how he prepares. He’s just completely relaxed. He does everything right and then is able to focus on the other stuff. He is very funny, a lot of people don’t realise that! Aidan McHugh
Aidan McHugh, who received a wild card into the Boys’ Singles, demolished the sixth-seeded Marko Miladinovic from Serbia in the first set without the loss of a single game, but was then taken to the tie break in the second before dispatching him, 6-0 7-6(4).
From Scotland, McHugh has benefitted from close proximity with Andy Murray and the British Davis Cup squad, even seen hitting with the World No 1 a few times during these these Championships.
“I’ve known Jamie from a while ago, but I’ve got know Andy better at this tournament,” said McHugh.
“It’s great to be around him in general just to see how he prepares. He’s just completely relaxed. He does everything right and then is able to focus on the other stuff.
“He is very funny, a lot of people don’t realise that!”
McHugh’s match against Miladinovic was suspended on Tuesday with the score at 6-0 5-5 in the Brit’s favour, and it could have been a difficult restart on Wednesday except that, playing in Scotland, he is used to weather disruption.
“Andy spoke to me afterwards [on Tuesday evening] – I think he was watching it on the red button or something,” McHugh added.
“He said it was good stuff so far and to just keep it up and go for it. That’s nice obviously. He and Jamie are constantly keeping an eye on some of the younger [British] players which is great.”
George Loffhagen, another British wild-card in the draw, took out the ninth seed, Rudolf Molleker from Germany, in straight sets, 6-4 6-4; but Oliver Crawford put an end to the hopes of a third, Barnaby Smith, who was unable to serve out the first set and fell to the tenth-seeded American, 7-6(3) 6-2.
Crawford broke to start the second set, and Smith struggled with his focus in the subsequent games.
“I broke him in the first game and I think that kind of hurt his confidence,” said Crawford, who starts classes at the University of Florida next month.
“Losing a set 7-6, after serving for it at 6-5, and getting broken right out of the gates, hurt his confidence.
“That put pressure on his serve and I felt confident moving forward and I held pretty handily. So I was very pleased with the second set, and with how I competed in the first set.”
Crawford’s opponent in the third round is No 8 seed Alejandro Fokina Davidovich of Spain, one of just five seeds remaining in the boys draw.
Another American, Patrick Kypson, is also among the last 16 boys after taking out No 5 seed Yuta Shimizu of Japan, 7-5 4-6 7-5, to avenge a three-set loss earlier this year at the Grade A in Brazil.
For places in the quarter-finals, Kypson now faces Loffhagen on Thursday, while McHugh takes on Matteo Martineau from France, who saw off Israel’s Yshai Oliel, the No 12 seed, 6-4 6-4.
Top seed Corentin Moutet, also from France, beat Menelaos Efstathiou of Cyprus, 6-3 6-2, while the No 2 seed Yibing Wu had both advanced on Tuesday.
Blake Ellis is a young serve-volley Australian, who is a protégé of Wayne Arthurs, and is a bit of a joy to watch, harking back to the good old days.
His second-round match against Alan Fernando Rubio Fierros was held over by the rain on Tuesday with the Aussie leading 6-3 5-all.
Ellis’s serve-and-volley points won on first and second serve in the tournament ran at 60 per cent and 75 per cent, respectively while Rubio Fierros came in at 6 per cent and 0 per cent.
While it took a while for the Mexican Alan Fernando Rubio Fierros to become accustomed to Ellis’ style of play, it was the Aussie who eventually prevailed, 6-3 7-6(3).
“Coming forward suits my style of play,” said the tall, lean 18-year-old.
“I’ve been trying to implement that and volleyed reasonably well. The plan is to come into the net as much as I can. Misha Zverev has shown you can play like that and be competitive.”
In the Girls’ Singles, Katie Swan’s run came to an end against the second seed, Whitney Osuigwe, but she acquitted herself well in taking the first set before succumbing, 4-6 6-2 6-1.
It was her second disappointment of The Championships, the 18-year-old from Bristol having lost a three-set thriller to Nigina Abduraimova, 3-6 7-5 0-6, in the first round of the ladies qualifying draw at the Bank of England Sports Club in Roehampton.
The last Brit standing in the girls’ event, this was Swan’s only junior event of the year, and her last as she now competes on the WTA Tour on which she is ranked 118.
Top seed Kayla Day was one of two girls who had to finish a second round match before playing a third round match on Wednesday, but she made it easier on herself by coming from 5-2 down in the second set to beat qualifier Jule Niemeier of Germany, 6-2 7-6(5), to move into the third round.
Day was scheduled to return to the same court after Claire Liu played her third round match with En Shuo Liang of Taiwan, but Liu’s quick 6-3 6-3 victory meant Day had to take on No 15 seed Zeel Desai of India after a very short break.
“It was a little hard mentally, because I had like only 45 minutes,” said Day.
“Because Claire just like rolled through. So I wasn’t even cooled down by the time I had to back on again.
“I was in the match, but at the beginning, I was like whoa, I’m back on court again. It was hard, because this morning it was such a close second set.”
Day fell behind 2-0 in the second set against Desai, but she broke right back and then broke again for a 5-4 lead, on a perfectly executed crosscourt forehand pass.
Desai saved three match points, but on the fourth Day took aim and hit a forehand on the line to close out the 6-5 6-4 win.
“I was like, I’m going for this one,” said the 17-year-old from Santa Barbara California. “I’m not going to let her hit another winner. And I barely made it.”
Day will be facing unseeded Ann Li in Thursday’s quarter-finals, after Li defeated Maja Chwalinska, the qualifier from Poland, 7-6(4) 6-2.
Li and Day have played three times at Grade 1 events, all in 2016, with Day 3-0 up in the head-to-heads.
“I’ve beaten her both times, but both times I’ve lost the first set, so it will definitely be will be a good match,” said Day.
“She’s very aggressive and she likes to come to the net, so her style really suits grass. So it’ll be tough. I’ve actually seen a couple of her matches, and she’s been playing really well.”
It is 25 years since an American last won junior Wimbledon and that was when Chanda Rubin managed it and since then only three other Americans have made into the final.
The times are clearly changing for while Day and Li are the only Americans facing on another, Liu, Sofia Sewing and Osuigwe give the United States five of the eight quarter-finalists.
No 14 seed Sewing defeated Ellie Douglas 6-3 6-4 today and will play unseeded Simona Waltert of Switzerland, who took out the No 10 seed Xin Yu Wang of China, 6-2 6-4.
Osuigwe faces unseeded Sofya Lansere of Russia, a 7-5, 6-1 winner over the ninth seed Maria Osorio Serrano of Colombia.
Liu will take on No 6 seed Carson Branstine of Canada, who until this spring trained with Day, Liu, Taylor Johnson and others at the USTA’s Player Development Center in Carson California.
“I think that training with your friends and people the same age as you really helps a lot,” said Liu, who at 17 is playing in her third Wimbledon as a junior, and reached the quarter-finals last year.
“You always get really good match play, and you’re training with your friends, so that’s always nice.”
Liu lost to Branstine 6-1 2-6 6-3 last December at the Orange Bowl round of 16 in the only time they have played, and she knows Branstine’s serve is even more dangerous on grass.
“Having a big serve helps you on grass, and that’s definitely a big advantage, but I also like to think that I can serve,” Liu said.
“But I’m just going to try to get as many balls back as I can, hopefully try to string a few points together, get a set.”