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American juniors thriving at Wimbledon

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 03: Sofia Kenin of The Unites States plays a backhand during the Girl's singles first round match against Ali Collins of Great Britain on Middle Sunday of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 3, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
July 6, 2016 12:15 PM

By Ashley Marshall, USTA.com

The next wave of talented Americans continue to make their mark at Wimbledon, with five boys and girls advancing to the quarterfinals of the junior singles competitions.

Half of the elite eight on the girls' side is American, with Sofia Kenin (pictured above), Claire Liu, Usue Arconada and Kayla Day each reaching the quarters of the girls’ singles event at the All England Club, while Ulises Blanch made it through to the quarters in the boys’ tournament.

In the girls’ bracket, all four Americans are in different sections, setting up the possibility of two all-American semifinals.

No. 5 seed Day, 16, is the highest-ranked American girl left in the tournament, which saw 12 Americans play in the first round and six advance to the round of 16. Sixth in the ITF world junior rankings, the California native joins 17-year-olds Kenin, seeded eighth, and Arconada, seeded ninth, looking for a spot in the semifinals. Liu, 16, is unseeded at Wimbledon but comes into the quarters with confidence after upsetting fellow American and No. 3 seed Amanda Anisimova, 4-6, 6-2, 13-11, in the third round.

In the top half of the draw, Kenin, a former No. 2-ranked junior, will meet top-seeded Russian Olesya Pervushina and Liu will meet No. 7 seed Dayana Yastremska. In the lower half, Maryland’s Arconada meets Russia’s Anastasia Potapova, the No. 4 seed, while Day faces unseeded Brit Gabriella Taylor, who dropped just two games in upsetting No. 2 seed Rebeka Masarova.

An American girl hasn’t won the junior Wimbledon title since Chanda Rubin claimed the crown in 1992. The last U.S. girl to win a junior Slam title was Samantha Crawford, who captured the US Open Junior Championships in 2012, although Kenin reached the final of the US Open in September and Anisimova was the runner-up at Roland Garros last month.

On the boys’ side, Blanch, the No. 2-ranked junior in the world, will face 17-year-old Frenchman and reigning French Open junior boys’ champion Geoffrey Blancaneaux for a spot in the semifinals.

Blanch, 18, won junior titles in Traralgon, Australia, and Sao Paolo, Brazil, earlier this year, and he came into Wimbledon having reached the semifinals of the Nike Junior International tournament, a grass-court tuneup event in Roehampton, England, where he also won the doubles title with American Vasil Kirkov.

Should Blanch – one of two American boys, along with John McNally, to reach the round of 16 – win his first junior Grand Slam title, he will be the third different American to win Wimbledon in the past three years. Noah Rubin won the title in 2014 and Reilly Opelka replicated the success 12 months ago.