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Mimi Xu with the trophy at the 18U Lexus Junior National Championships
Juniors

Mimi Xu & Oliver Bonding take home titles at the 18U Lexus Junior National Championships

• 3 MINUTE READ

Mimi Xu from Wales South beat Surrey's Hannah Klugman in a high-quality Girls' Singles final at the 18U Lexus Junior National Championships, while Surrey's Oliver Bonding beat Scotland North's Charlie Robertson to claim the Boys' title.

Bringing together the top players across the nation from the 11U to 18U age groups, the National Championships are the highest level of junior competition in Britain.

Andy Murray, Heather Watson and Dan Evans are among a long list of past British champions who have gone on to become household names in the game and along with the prestige of winning the Junior National Championships, a wild card into the main draw at Wimbledon qualifying was also up for grabs for this week's champions.

Xu's 6-7(4), 7-6(7), 6-4 win came in an epic contest that concluded after two hours and 56 minutes, with the standard of play throughout impressively high.

Klugman, who is ranked at No.6 in the ITF Junior rankings and is part of our Pro Scholarship Programme presented by Lexus, fought hard to turn a tense first set in her favour, with some high-quality rallies played out before a sizeable audience at the National Tennis Centre.

A tie-break was required to decide the set and Klugman then had a championship point in the second set tie-break, but she served a doubled fault to offer Welsh star a route back into the match.

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With the high level of tennis maintained throughout, Xu - who is also on the Pro Scholarship Programme - secured a decisive break of serve at 5-4 in the third to wrap up a second 18U Lexus Junior National Championships win to back up her success from 2022.

"Both of us played really well," said Xu, who is a graduate of our National Academy in Loughborough and started her tennis journey at the Swansea Tennis and Squash Club.

"Hannah played unbelievably well and put me under so much pressure and I'm just really happy to come out on top.

"The quality was really good. Every point was so tough and you couldn't let your level drop. I'm just so happy to get the win."

Katie O'Brien, LTA Women's National Coach said: "That has to be the best final we have seen in this competition and I'd be very surprised if we ever surpass it.

"The level of tennis, the competitiveness, the maturity of both players and the drama of the match in huge moments was just fantastic.

"We've had a wonderful 18U tournament this year and this final was so impressive from start to finish."

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Bonding's 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 win against Robertson was another high-quality battle, with a classy drop shot on match point deciding the contest.

It has already been a stellar year for Bonding, who became the first British Boy since 2010 to win the J500 Blumenau title – also known as the Banana Bowl – last month.

Now he has added the Junior Nationals title to his collection, after beating Robertson, who is part of our National Academy in Sterling.

"I was surprised by his level at the start of the match, but it was all about fighting and waiting for my chance in the last set," said Bonding, who was runner-up in the 18U Junior National Championships last year and is supported by our Men's and Women's programme.

"I'm excited to be in Wimbledon qualifying now. I am going to play my first pro event over the next few weeks and it will be great to try and raise my level when that event comes around."

Martin Weston, LTA's Men's National Coach said: "Considering the breezy conditions, the standard was really good.

"Right until the end, you didn't know who was going to win. Both boys were fighting impressively when they were behind and composed when they were in the lead.

"I feel really, really positive. This was a match between boys that have played at Junior Grand Slam level and I feel proud that our National Championships final was an international quality match. Anyone who watched that around the world on YouTube would be impressed by what British boys are capable of."

Xu and Bonding will now get their chance to play in the Wimbledon Qualifying tournament, that gets underway on Monday 24 June.

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