Queenslander Benjamin Mitchell – who spent time during the Australian summer trading groundstrokes with world No.
1 Rafael Nadal – is through to the semi-finals of the junior boys’ championship at the All England Club.
Mitchell will take on home hope Oliver Golding for a berth in Sunday’s decider after upsetting sixth-seeded Bosnian Damier Dzumhur 5-7 6-2 6-2 in the Thursday’s quarter-finals.
While his seeded countrymen – led by the world’s top-ranked junior Jason Kubler – have all fallen by the wayside, Mitchell has romped through the draw.
The 17-year-old upended Brazil’s third seed and reigning Australian Open junior champion Tiago Fernandes in the third round and admits he’s been dreaming about Wimbledon for months.
“I’ve had a big training camp down in Canberra at the AIS, six weeks, and pretty much every week I’d wake up and know that my goal would be to win Wimbledon juniors,” Mitchell said.
“So, still two matches to go, but I’ll take it one at a time.”
The older brother of Home and Away star Luke Mitchell, the tennis ace’s previous claim to fame was being a practice partner for Nadal during the Australian Open.
“I hit with Rafa twice,” he said.
“I hadn’t done it here. My coach (Brent Larkham) didn’t tell me because I get nervous, so I walk out there and there’s a massive crowd, not knowing what was going on.
“Then Rafa walks out. So it was a bit unexpected but the ball is just ridiculous. A great experience.”
While Mitchell marched on, eighth-seeded Australian James Duckworth lost his quarter-final on Thursday 6-4 6-2 to Hungary’s 13th seed Marton Fucsovics.
Kubler and Ben Waglan both bowed out in the third round.
Veteran Rennae Stubbs is through to the mixed doubles semi-finals after teaming with Brazilian Marcelo for a 7-6 (7-3) 7-6 (7-3) win over US Open champion Kim Clijsters and her fellow Belgian Xavier Malisse.
But Paul Hanley and Taiwan’s Jung-Jan Chan lost their quarter-final 6-4 6-7 (4-7) 6-3 to second seeds Leander Paes and Cara Black.