Best of 2016: American girls excel

December 18, 2016 09:14 AM

As 2016 draws to a close, is taking a look back at the top storylines, headlines and highlights from the year in American tennis. Visit our Year in Review homepage to see our complete Top 10.

By Sally Milano,

If results at the top junior tournaments are any indication of future success, the American girls have a bright future ahead of them. Several U.S. girls gave outstanding performances at junior Grand Slam tournaments in 2016, led by Kayla Day.

A week after reaching the second round of the women’s singles draw at the US Open, the 16-year-old Californian (pictured above) cruised through the US Open junior girls’ draw, dropping only one set on her way to the championship. With the win, the 5-foot-8 lefty, who moved to No. 1 in the ITF World Junior Rankings following her victory, became the first American girl to win a major singles title since Samantha Crawford won the US Open girls’ event in 2012.

"It means so much. It's really great,” Day said after being crowned champion. “I knew that, coming into the match, an American girl hadn't won a junior Slam in four years, so it means so much to me to be able to play for America and win."

Day, who also reached the Wimbledon singles semifinals in July, narrowly missed a sweep of both the singles and doubles titles in New York. She and doubles partner Caroline Dolehide lost a heartbreaker in an all-American girls’ doubles final to Jada Hart and Ena Shibahara, 4-6, 6-2, [13-11].

Amanda Anisimova also proved she could perform on the world’s biggest stages with a run to the girls’ singles final at the junior French Open. Seeded No. 2 in the draw, the then-14-year-old lost only one set en route to the final, where she fell to Rebeka Masarova of Switzerland in two tight sets, 7-5, 7-5.

American girls had big success in doubles play at Wimbledon, where three of the four finalists competing came from the U.S. Usue Arconada and Claire Liu captured the title with a win over fellow American Caty McNally and Mariam Bolkvadze of Georgia, 6-2, 6-3, to become the first all-American duo to win the girls' doubles championship at Wimbledon since Jennifer Capriati and Meredith McGrath in 1989.

interview with Arconada and Liu following their Wimbledon victory

In singles play at the All England Club, semifinalist Day was one of four American girls to reach the quarterfinals. Sofia Kenin, Liu and Arconada also advanced to the final eight at Wimbledon.
A year after winning three of the four junior Grand Slam singles titles, the U.S. boys posted solid results at the majors in 2016, with Ulysses Blanch reaching the Wimbledon semifinals and Patrick Kypson advancing to the US Open quarterfinals.

For more on these players and other American junior news, click here.