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Group of female tennis players together with their medals

USA win Maureen Connolly Challenge Trophy in thrilling decider


The USA claimed the 2017 Maureen Connolly Challenge Trophy after the competition went to a final match decider at Canoe Lake Leisure.

The Maureen Connolly Challenge Trophy is an annual team competition between the top four girls aged 18 and under from Great Britain and the USA, with this year’s event taking place at Canoe Lake Leisure during the Aegon Southsea Trophy.

The standard was high with two members of Team USA recently contesting the Roland Garros Junior Singles Final with Whitney Osuigwe defeating Claire Liu 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-3.

After eight singles matches the challenge was tied at 4-4 with two doubles matches to play. Following an injury Great Britain gave a walkover to the USA in the first doubles match which left the outcome of one doubles match to see if the challenge would be taken to a tiebreak.

Great Britain’s Emily Appleton and Holly Fischer took on the USA’s Whitney Osuigwe and Caty McNally with the American’s coming out on top with a 6-4 victory to take the Trophy.

USA’s team captain Erik Kortland said: “It’s a great chance for us to play as a team and mix with other players from other countries. The British teams are always tough to play on grass as they play a lot more on it than we do, so it can take us a little while to get used to and a lot of the girls have come from the French Open where it is a different playing surface.”

The Challenge was played at the same time as the Aegon Southsea Trophy, an experience that Kortland said was invaluable: “We feel that anytime that we can get the girls around professionals, because that’s obviously what they’re hoping to be, is a great experience for them. Seeing how they train, how they play, how they act on and off the court it’s a very good experience.”

Jane O’Donoghue, who captained the team alongside the current Fed Cup Captain Anne Keothavong, said afterwards: “We’ve had a great event and a brilliant day in Southsea, we had a couple of younger girls in our team so it was a great experience for them and two older girls who have experienced it before but everyone stepped up and played some of their best tennis so we can’t really ask for anymore than that.

“It’s a healthy competition, everyone is very competitive but it’s played in the right spirits which is what the event is all about. It was a extremely close at 4-4 and then sadly through injury one of our players had to pull out and then the doubles at 5-4 was very close. I’m proud of all the girls’ efforts.”

2017 Maureen Connolly Challenge Trophy results


  • Emily Appleton (GBR) bt Whitney Osuigwe (USA) 6-4
  • Claire Liu (USA) bt Holly Fischer (GBR) 6-3
  • Taylor Johnson (USA) bt Gemma Heath (GBR) 7-5
  • Emma Raducanu (GBR) bt Sofia Sewing (USA) 7-5
  • Emily Appleton (GBR) bt Claire Liu (USA) 6-4
  • Holly Fischer (GBR) bt Whitney Osuigwe (USA) 7-5
  • Sofia Sewing (USA) bt Gemma Heath (GBR) 6-4
  • Taylor Johnson (USA) bt Emma Raducanu (GBR) 7-6 (2)


  • Walkover to USA due to GBR injury
  • Osuigwe and McNally (USA) bt Appleton and Fischer (GBR) 6-4

Final score

  • USA 6-4 GBR
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