Claire Liu, Whitney Osuigwe to Meet in Second-Ever All-American French Open Girls’ Singles Final
From the USTA: (June 9, 2017) Seventeen-year old Claire Liu, of Thousand Oaks, Calif., and 15-year old Whitney Osuigwe, of Bradenton, Fla., will meet Saturday in an all-American girls’ singles final at the French Open, the first since 1980 and second in the event’s history, dating back to 1953.
Liu, who is coached by Mike Gennette, is ranked No. 4 in the world among juniors and No. 351 in the WTA rankings. In the weeks leading up to the French, she won singles titles at two $25,000 pro events, in Naples, Fla., and Caserta, Italy. In 2015, Liu was profiled as part of Sports Illustrated’s ‘Faces in the Crowd‘ feature after winning her first pro title at 14.
Osuigwe, the No. 5-ranked junior in the world, is coached by her father, Desmond, who is a teaching pro at the IMG Academy in Bradenton. Osuigwe would be the ninth-youngest girls’ singles champion at the French Open, at 15 years, 1 month and 24 days — just over one month older than Justine Henin when she won the Roland Garros girls’ title, in 1997.
Kathy Horvath defeated Kelly Henry in the 1980 girls’ final, the only other all-American girls’ final at Roland Garros. Only three other Americans have won the French Open girls’ singles title — Ann Smith (1977), Bonnie Gadusek (1981) and Jennifer Capriati (1989).
The girls’ singles final is the second match on after play begins at 11 a.m. Saturday in Paris.
Americans will also compete for the boys’ doubles title on Saturday. Eighteen-year old Vasil Kirkov, of Bradenton, Fla., and 17-year old Danny Thomas, of Columbus, Ohio, will play the top-seeded pair of Nicola Kuhn (ESP) and Zsombor Piros (HUN) immedialy following the girls’ singles final.
American juniors have had a run of success at the French Open in recent years. In 2015, Tommy Paul beat Taylor Fritz in the first all-American French Open boys’ singles final, dating back to 1947. Last year, Amanda Anisimova reached the girls’ singles final as a 14-year old, and this year, four of the girls’ singles quarterfinalists were American, including Anisimova and Caty McNally.
USTA Player Development National Coaches Sylvain Guichard, Leo Azevedo, Erik Kortland and Jean Desdunes have provided support to all American players participating in the French Open junior championships this year.