British Tennis Watch – October
Mingge Xu – Age 16 – Current WR: 1228th – Career High: 1033rd.
All images from WikiMedia
In this long-running series of articles, we will be reviewing some of the action in the world of British tennis, from Grand Slams to Juniors.
We are covering the action monthly, and highlighting a selection of players who have won titles or made noteworthy performances for that month.
In this edition, we will be covering all events that finished in October, which means the Masters 1000 event in Paris which starts this week will be covered in November’s edition.
Players are ordered by current world ranking.
If we’ve missed any big titles or performances, please let us know by emailing us at email@example.com
Harriet Dart – Age 27 – Current WR: 144th – Career High: 84th
Week 41: ITF70, Quinta do Lago, Portugal: RU
Week 42: ITF140, Shrewsbury, UK: R2
Week 43: ITF80, Glasgow, UK: SF
There were two ITF events in the UK for British ladies to have a go at in October, but it was Harriet Dart’s performance in Portugal just beforehand which stood out. Dart was alongside fellow Brits Heather Watson and Eden Silva in the main draw in Portugal, and put together an impressive string of victories to reach the final, including a first-round victory over Harmony Tan. Dart joined several Brits in Shrewsbury and Glasgow and did the best north of the border, reaching the semi-finals in Glasgow before losing to eventual champion Daria Snigur of Ukraine. Dart is still some way off her career high of 84th, but a few more deep runs at this level of competition may give her some options at the WTA Main Tour events in 2024.
Billy Harris – Age 28 – Current WR: 234th – Career High: 234th
Week 40: CH75, Alicante, Spain: QF
Week 41: CH125, Malaga, Spain: QF
Week 42: CH50, Hamburg, Germany: SF
Week 43: CH50, Ortisei, Italy: SF
We don’t usually feature players who haven’t reached a final throughout the course of the month, but Billy Harris’ October is worth preserving for all eternity, especially given his results saw him reach a career-high ranking, which at the age of 28, is pretty good going. Qualifying for both of the higher-level Challengers, Harris claimed a career-best rankings scalp by beating top seed and former world #9 Roberto Bautista Agut 7-5 60-4 in the second round of the event in Malaga to crown a great couple of weeks in Spain. Billy then headed over to Germany, where he marched to the semi-finals before losing to Ukrainian veteran Ilya Marchenko, while his conqueror in the semis in Italy was Lukas Klein of Slovakia. Four excellent weeks at a level Billy isn’t necessarily that used to, and a win-loss record of 14-4 isn’t something to be sniffed at. Great job Billy!
Arthur Fery – Age 21 – Current WR: 269th – Career High: 269th
Week 40: CH100, Mouilleron le Captif, France: RU
Week 41: CH125, Bratislava, Slovakia: R1
Week 43: CH100, Brest, France: QF
21-year-old Arthur Fery continues to progress in leaps and bounds in recent weeks. Last month, we proudly declared that Fery had reached a new career high of 362nd in the world after a string of excellent performances, but he has smashed that again this October with two excellent results at Challenger events in France. This is the third month in a row he has featured in our round-up. The real highlight in October came at the start of the month in Mouilleron le Captif, where Fery was entered into the qualifying draw and made it all the way to the final, defeating former world #7 David Goffin in the process. After seven matches in one week, it’s no surprise that he ran out of steam in the first round of the event in Bratislava the week after, but he returned to qualifying action in France and successfully reached the main draw again, before beating fellow Brit Ryan Peniston in the first round proper, David Goffin again in the second round, before eventually losing out 6-3 6-4 to fourth seed Benjamin Bonzi in the quarters. A great month for Fery, though, whose stock is rapidly rising.
Amarni Banks – Age 21 – Current WR: 309th – Career High: 309th
Week 40: ITF50, Reims, France: R2
Week 42: ITF140, Shrewsbury, UK: RU
Week 43: ITF80, Glasgow, UK: R2
Amarni Banks’ standout performance this month came in Shrewsbury, at the highest-level tournament she entered. With one win and one defeat in each of the tournaments either side of Shrewsbury, it would have been a rather modest month without the phenomenal performance the 21-year-old put together as a wildcard. Banks beat Katy Dunne in the first round, fourth seed Harriet Dart in the second, eighth seeded Swiss Simona Waltert in the quarters and second seeded French player Oceane Godin in the semis. It was a step too far in the final, though, where she came up against top seed Viktorija Golubic and lost 6-0 6-0 in a rather disappointing end to her marvellous run. She hits a new career high, though, as a result, and has a big platform now to go even further.
Charles Broom – Age 25 – Current WR: 355th – Career High: 343rd
Week 40: CH100, Mouilleron le Captif, France: R1
Week 41: ITF25, Rodez, France: R2
Week 42: ITF25, Edgbaston, UK: R1
Week 43: ITF25, Saint-Augustin, Canada: WIN
It wasn’t a month to write home about for Charles Broom until the final week of October when he escaped Europe and headed over to North America, where his fortunes changed dramatically and he marched to a title in Canada. Before that, he had successfully qualified for the Challenger event in France in Week 40 but ended up drawn in the first round against David Goffin, who emerged victorious in a deciding-set tiebreak, and a solitary win for Broom in an ITF25 in France was followed by a first-round exit on home soil. A change of scene can sometimes work wonders, though, and Broom dropped just one set en route to the title in Canada, that set coming in the final against top seed Aziz Dougaz of Tunisia. The win will see Charles push past his career-high ranking next week, so onwards and upwards!
Felix Gill – Age 21 – Current WR: 370th – Career High: 370th
Week 40: ITF25, Zaragoza, Spain: W
Week 42: ITF25, Santa Margherita di Pula, Italy: W
Week 43: ITF25, Santa Margherita di Pula, Italy: R1
Another player to hit a new career high ranking this month, Felix Gill won ten matches on the bounce to clinch two separate ITF25 titles in October, his third and fourth ITF titles of his career, with the previous two coming at ITF15 level. It’s no wonder he ran out of steam and had to retire from his R1 match in Italy in Week 43! Perhaps the most impressive part of Felix’s double triumph is the fact that in the ten matches he played to win both titles, he dropped just a single set – in the semi-finals of the event in Italy against second seed Nerman Fatic. Seeded eighth in Spain, Gill beat the fourth and second seeds en route to the final, while he was completely unseeded in Italy and took out four seeds in succession from the second round onwards, culminating in a 6-2 6-4 victory over top seed Oriol Roca Batalla of Spain in the final. Nice work, Felix!
Kyle Edmund – Age 28 – Current WR: 546th – Career High: 14th
Week 40: ITF15, Doha, Qatar: R1
Week 41: ITF15, Doha, Qatar: R1
Week 42: ITF25, Edgbaston, UK: RU
Week 43: ITF25, Glasgow, UK: QF
Former British #1 Kyle Edmund is still on the long road to recovery from injury. In an attempt to keep up his match fitness, Edmund entered an event at every possible occasion in October, trying his hand at two events in Qatar before coming home to take on the local events. The Qatar events were unsuccessful, to put it mildly: Edmund retired after just seven games in his first competitive match since May, but was fit enough to go again the following week. Even then, he couldn’t get past Frenchman Quentin Folliot, ranked outside the top 1000. Not a great build-up to the events on home soil, but no matter: Kyle was able to play himself into form in Edgbaston, rediscovering that winning feeling in the first round with a swift 6-1 6-2 victory before an almighty tussle in the second round against Milos Karol of Slovakia, which ended in a final-set tiebreaker in Edmund’s favour. On a roll, Edmund fought past fellow Brits Aidan McHugh and Toby Samuel before eventually running out of steam in the final against another Brit, Jacob Fearnley. He reached the quarters in Glasgow the week after before losing to another Brit, Anton Matusevich. So a month of ups and downs for Kyle, but finally a few consecutive wins and something to build on.
Anton Matusevich – Age 22 – Current WR: 586th – Career High: 388th
Week 43: ITF25, Glasgow, UK: RU
It was one and done for Anton in October – he missed the event in Edgbaston but took part in Glasgow and reached the final, where he surged unseeded through the draw before eventually losing 5-7 6-4 6-2 in the final against Belgian Alexander Blockx. Matusevich took out some British rivals that many a British tennis fan may recognise, including veteran Dan Cox in the first round, former world #14 Kyle Edmund in the quarters, and the previous week’s champion in Edgbaston Jacob Fearnley (see below). Let’s see if Anton can build on this in weeks to come.
Stuart Parker – Age 26 – Current WR: 661st – Career High: 346th
Week 40: ITF15, Sharm-el-Sheikh, Egypt: RU
Week 42: ITF15, Heraklion, Greece: SF
Week 43: ITF15, Heraklion, Greece: R2
Stuart Parker backed up his final appearance in the Week 39 event in Sharm-el-Sheikh that we reported on last month which another final appearance in Week 40, before moving on to secure a couple of decent returns in Greece towards the end of the month. Somewhat inevitably, Stuart’s final opponent in Week 40 was the same as in Week 39 – local second seed Mohamed Safwat – and the result was the same, too. Incidentally, Stuart’s run to the final in Egypt included a semi-final victory over Wimbledon Junior Champion and fellow Brit Henry Searle.
Hannah Klugman – Age 14 – Current WR 734th – Career High – 734th
Week 42: ITF140, Shrewsbury, UK: QF
Week 43: ITF80, Glasgow, UK: QF
Hannah Klugman set two world records this week – she became the youngest player since Coco Gauff to qualify for and win a match at an ITF140 event after reaching the quarter-finals in Shrewsbury earlier this month. Klugman continues to defy expectations at her tender age and is really somebody we need to get mightily excited about. If she can stay fit and is coached the right way, she could be a future world #1 and multiple Grand Slam Champion. You heard it here first.
Jacob Fearnley – Age 22 – Current WR: 802nd – Career High: 802nd
Week 42: ITF25, Edgbaston, UK: W
Week 43: ITF25, Glasgow, UK: SF
Jacob Fearnley shocked quite a few British tennis fans by clinching the Edgbaston ITF25 title ahead of a plethora of well-known British names, including former British #1 Kyle Edmund in the final itself. Fearnley, who entered the event as a qualifier, breezed through two rounds of qualifying before being handed a tough draw against second seed Charles Broom in the first round proper. No big deal for Jacob: he surged past Broom 6-4 6-2 and proceeded to eliminate two more Brits (Ewen Lumsden and Giles Hussey) and a Frenchman before defeating Kyle Edmund in straight sets in the final. He didn’t do too badly the following week either, entering the draw as a Special Exempt due to his run to the final in Edgbaston, and not dropping a set until the semi-final where he retired against Anton Matusevich. His ranking is set to rise even higher than its current peak next week, so it’s onwards and upwards for Jacob!
Mingge Xu – Age 16 – Current WR: 1228th – Career High: 1033rd
Week 40: J300, Beijing, China: W
Week 41: J500, Osaka, Japan: QF
Week 43: ITF80, Glasgow, UK: SF
Another player featured in our round-up for a second consecutive week, Mimi put together a string of 13 victories and just two defeats across three tournaments in October to ensure that next week she will smash past her career high senior ranking into the mid-700s. Mimi began over in Asia at two consecutive junior events, and she raced to the final of the event as the second seed – beating fellow Brit Gabia Paskauskas in the semi-finals – before facing down the top seed Laura Samsonova of Czechia in the final. It was the first time the pair had met, and Xu won handily in straight sets to clinch her second junior title of the year. The following week saw her reach the quarter-finals in Japan, where she lost in a deciding set tiebreak, and then began the long journey home to the UK, where she was entered for a senior event in Glasgow. Despite not winning the event, this was arguably the most impressive result of the month for Mimi – she came through qualifying before dispatching fellow Brits Isabelle Lacy and Hannah Klugman en route to the semi-finals, where she eventually lost to former world #23 Mona Barthel of Germany in three tough sets. That’s an astonishing result for the 16-year-old, and there’s surely plenty more where that came from.
Viktor Frydrych – Age 17 – Current JWR: 56th – Career High: 56th
Week 40: J300, Beijing, China: W
Week 41: J500, Osaka, Japan: R1
Week 42: J200, Nagoya, Japan: R3
17-year-old Viktor Frydrych hit a new junior career high this month after he won the J300 event in Beijing, alongside Mimi Xu who won the Girls’ event. Viktor has thus far been unable to translate his promising junior form on to the senior circuit, which is perhaps why he stayed in Asia for a three-week stint on the junior tour, rather than returning to the UK for the senior events in Glasgow and Edgbaston. Frydrych’s run to the title in Beijing was impressive: he beat second seeded home favourite Tianhui Zhang in the quarter-finals, fifth seed Timofei Derepasko in the semis, and fellow Brit Benjamin Gusic Wan in the final, although Gusic Wan was forced out of the match due to injury. Frydrych’s exertions in Beijing meant he struggled in Japan the following week, but did manage a run to the third round at the J200 in Nagoya in Week 42.
Freya Peet – Age 15 – Current JWR: 400th – Career High: 400th
Week 40: J100, Gaborone, Botswana: W
Week 42: J60, Loughborough, UK: SF
It was perhaps remiss of us to omit Freya from our monthly round-up for September, as she actually won a title in Botswana in the final week of September, as well as the first week of October. But here we are, giving her the credit she deserves: her win in September came at a J60, but the event in October was a J100, which makes her victory even more impressive. Freya entered the tournament unseeded, and fought past, among others, the eight, seventh, and third seeds to clinch the title. She then hightailed it back to home soil to try her hand against fellow British youngsters, and managed a decent run to the semi-finals of the event in Loughborough before eventually falling to eventual champion Sophia Christodoulou.
Zechariah Hamrouni – Age 16 – Current JWR: 589th – Career High: 587th
Week 41: J30, Loughborough, UK: W
Week 42: J60, Loughborough, UK: RU
While 16-year-olds ought generally to be playing in tournaments higher up the junior spectrum, titles at any level of tennis are worth celebrating, and Zechariah Hamrouni put together an impressive string of victories to win one title and reach another final in Loughborough in October to give his junior world ranking a much-needed boost. The first event was an J30, the lowest officially sanctioned ITF-level tournament type before the drop down to Tennis Europe youth events, and, seeded third, Zechariah beat five fellow Brits in a row to clinch his first junior title of the year, beating 16-year-old Alfie King in the final. The following week, the event was elevated to J60 level, but Hamrouni was unfazed: despite being unseeded, he marched on to the final yet again, beating fellow Brit and second seed Luke Hooper in the semis, before eventually falling 6-2 6-3 in the final against the Dutch top seed. It will be interesting to see whether Zechariah can push on from here and try his hand at some higher-level junior events in the coming years.
Sophia Christodoulou – Age 15 – Current JWR: 755th – Career High: 751st
Week 41: J30, Loughborough, UK: SF
Week 42: J60, Loughborough, UK: W
On the Girls’ side of the draw in Loughborough, the standout performance over the fortnight came from 15-year-old Sophia Christodoulou, who reached the semis at the J30 before going on to win the J60 the following week. Christodoulou lost out in the J30 semis to 14-year-old Hollie Smart – who, by the way, went on to the tournament – but put together five wins against five Brits at the J60 to clinch the title: in order, from the first round to the final, Isabella Walker, Tia Bonita Jakupovic-Klajko, Alice Wilson-Marsh, Freya Peet, and finally Tegan Bush were all dispatched in straight sets en route to the title. Nice work!