•   Thursday, 25 Jul, 2024
GB's Klugman 15 one win from reaching Wimbledon

GB's Klugman 15 one win from reaching Wimbledon

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The 15-year-old, who grew up playing tennis at a club close to the famous venue, beat 28th seed Linda Fruhvirtova 6-2 0-6 6-4.

"I'm speechless," said Klugman. "To get the win was really good, it was very emotional."

Fellow Britons Amarni Banks and Sonay Kartal have also made it to the final round of qualifying.

Klugman's final qualifying match will be streamed live on BBC iPlayer and the BBC Sport website and app on Thursday. The match is not expected to take place before 12:30 BST.

Klugman, who competed in the juniors at Wimbledon last year, won the prestigious Orange Bowl title in Florida aged 14 in December.

The world number 623 fought back from losing the second set to love at Roehampton to overhaul Czech opponent Fruhvirtova, who is ranked 376 places above her.

Current US Open champion Coco Gauff became the youngest modern-day Wimbledon qualifier at 15 years and 122 days in 2019.

Klugman will be just eight days older when she next faces American world number 121 Alycia Parks on Thursday.

Banks, 21, beat the American 26th seed Kayla Day 7-6 (8-6) 6-3 and next meets Canadian Marina Stakusic.

Kartal, 22, will face Russia's Erika Andreeva after defeating China's Wei Sijia 6-4 4-6 6-1.

Britain's two remaining men in qualifying, Jay Clarke and George Loffhagen, were defeated in the second round.

World number 332 Clarke lost 6-3 3-6 6-2 to Frenchman Quentin Halys, while Loffhagen was defeated 7-6 (8-6) 7-6 (7-5) by South African Lloyd Harris.

Klugman, who turned 15 in February, grew up playing at Westside Tennis Club, which is less than two miles from Centre Court at Wimbledon.

"I was probably about three when I could actually hold a racket," she said after being granted a wildcard to the junior tournament at the All England Club aged 13 in 2022.

"My sisters used to play when I was younger so they brought me into the game, my mum used to play as well - still plays - and I used to hit with them on the side of the court.

"It's massively special. I've been here every year watching and for me to play here this year is insane. I literally live five minutes away."

Klugman reached the US Open junior singles quarter-finals in September 2023 and the following month became the youngest player to qualify for a $100,000 (£80,000) event on the ITF World Tour, reaching the quarter-finals in Shrewsbury. The record was previously held by Gauff.

Klugman went on to land the Orange Bowl, whose past winners included future Grand Slam champions Chris Evert, Caroline Wozniacki, Bianca Andreescu and Gauff, who was 14 when she won it in 2018.

At Roehampton, the British teenager was watched by her parents, two of her sisters and friends as she hit six aces and 33 winners.

Her beaten opponent Fruhvirtova, 19, was ranked inside the top 50 this time last year.

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