British Tennis Watch – September
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 September – meaning the US Open, which is currently underway in New York, will be covered in next month’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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Liam Broady – Age 29 – Current WR 93rd – Career High: 93rd
Week 36: CH75, Cassis, France: SF
Week 37: CH100, Rennes, France: R1
Week 38: CH125, St Tropez, France: RU
Reaching a career-high ranking at the age of 29 is unusual, but not impossible, and Liam Broady has done just that this month after two excellent performances (and one that we’ll just choose to ignore) over the course of three consecutive weeks in France. Broady went into the Challenger 75 in Cassis, which took place at the same time as the second week of the US Open, as second seed, and perhaps may have been slightly disappointed to lose to seventh seeded Italian Matteo Bellucci in the semis. However, this disappointment was short-lived, because after a first-round exit the following week, Broady roared back with a run to the final of the Challenger 125 event in St Tropez. Broady didn’t have to face a single seeded player throughout his run, although beating former world number 39 Radu Abbot in the semi-finals was no mean feat, but home favourite Constant Lestienne eventually got the better of him in the final, winning 4-6 6-3 6-4. That said, Broady’s performances have seen him rise into the top 100 for the first time in his career. How can he push on from here?
Jack Draper – Age 21 – Current WR: 106th – Career High: 38th
Week 35/36: US Open: R4
Week 37: Davis Cup: 1 win
Week 39: CH125, Orleans, France: RU
The brightest young male talent in British tennis, Jack Draper, began to sparkle again at the end of the August, and carried this form into September after returning from several injury issues earlier in the year. Draper was the last man standing in the US Open Men’s Singles, coming past world number 17 Hubert Hurkacz in the second round before eventually losing in a tight match against world number 8 Andrey Rublev in the last 16. The run to the fourth round was further than Cam Norrie, Dan Evans, and Andy Murray could manage, despite all three of them being ranked higher than the 21-year-old. All four of those men then joined the five-man squad for the Davis Cup Group Stages in Manchester, with Jack picking up a win in the only match he was selected for – 7-6 in the third against Thanasi Kokkinakis of Australia – and this win was crucial in GB’s eventual qualification for the finals in Spain later this year. But Draper wasn’t done – in the final week of September, he entered a Challenger 125 event in France, and as the eighth seed put together a run all the way to the final before eventually losing out to Tomas Machac of Czechia once he got there. Eight wins and two defeats in September is not a bad haul for the youngster. More to come, please!
Sonay Kartal – Age 21 – Current WR: 219th – Career High: 195th
Week 35: ITF80, Prague, Czechia: R2
Week 37: ITF50, Leiria, Portugal: WIN
Week 38: ITF100, Caldas da Rainha, Portugal: QF
Sonay Kartal put together a string of good results in Portugal in September to push herself towards her career-high ranking of 193rd this month, and her good form was capped by a title victory at the ITF50 event in Leiria, which saw her defeat fellow Brit Amarni Banks in the semi-final en route to the title. It was Kartal’s second ITF50 title of the year, following her victory in Italy back in March. She backed up her title victory with a quarter-final appearance at the higher-level event in Caldas da Rainha, which she earned by defeating fellow Brits back-to-back in the opening two rounds: first it was Yuriko Miyazaki, the sixth seed, and that was followed by a win against qualifier Eden Silva. Some confidence-boosting results there for Sonay who will hope to push on as the year draws to a close.
Aidan McHugh – Age 23 – Current WR: 338th – Career High – 298th
Week 36: CH75, Cassis, France: R1
Week 37: ITF25, Madrid, Spain: WIN
Week 38: ITF25, Setubal, Portugal: SF
Aidan McHugh found himself a little out of his depth in the first tournament he chose to enter in September. He was defeated in the final qualifying round of the Challenger 75 event in France but was gifted a place in the draw as a lucky loser. But he couldn’t convert his luck into points, as he lost to fellow Brit Charles Broom in the first round. But his fortunes turned around when he dipped down into ITF-sanctioned events again, as he immediately romped home to the title in Spain the following week, beating three Spaniards, a Bolivian and a German en route to victory. He couldn’t quite keep the momentum going all the way through the following week in Portugal, although a run to the semi-finals was a decent showing regardless. Some nice work by Aidan this month.
Arthur Fery – Age 21 – Current WR: 362nd – Career High: 362nd
Week 35: CH75, Mallorca, Spain: R2
Week 37: ITF25, Pozzuoli, Italy: RU
Week 39: CH125, Orleans, France: QF
21-year-old Arthur Fery hit a new career-high this month after two performances back-to-back that really stood out. Fery’s foray into Spain at the end of August wasn’t that successful, but he entered the ITF25 event in Italy two weeks later as the fourth seed, and played himself into form with two swift early victories, 6-1 6-0 and 6-2 6-1 respectively in the first two rounds. This was followed by a three-set victory in the quarters and a win over top seed Remy Bertola in the semis, before Fery eventually came a cropper against an Italian in the final. Things got even better two weeks later in France, where Fery did manage to succeed in stepping up to the next level. As a qualifier Fery beat sixth seed Marc-Andrea Huesler in the first round, Guilio Zeppieri of Italy in the second, and fought hard against top seeded French veteran Richard Gasquet before eventually going down in three sets in the quarters. Some really solid results from another burgeoning prospect this month.
Harry Wendelken – Age 21 – Current WR: 485th – Career High: 478th
Week 35: ITF25, Idanha-a-Nova, Portugal: R2
Week 36: ITF25, Sintra, Portugal: WIN
Week 38: ITF15, Danderyd, Sweden: SF
Week 39: ITF25, Falun, Sweden: R2
It was a busy month for Harry Wendelken, but it paid off big-time: he reached his career-high ranking of 478th following his title-winning performance in Portugal in Week 36, and looks set to better that career-high to 462nd when the rankings update next Monday with his semi-final performance from Sweden. Wendelken got warmed up with a second-round appearance at the first of two events in Portugal, before winning three successive three-set victories in the final three rounds of the event in Sintra to clinch a mightily impressive title – his first of the year. After arriving in Sweden, he beat fellow Brit George Houghton in the first round in Danderyd before losing in the semis – had he won that match, he would have taken on fellow Brit Giles Hussey, who went on to win the event, in the final. Great work from young Harry this month – he is starting to show some remarkable potential.
Felix Gill – Age 21 – Current WR: 516th – Career High: 411th
Week 36: ITF15, Madrid, Spain: R2
Week 38: ITF15, Melilla, Spain: SF
Week 39: ITF25, Sabadell, Spain: RU
Felix Gill’s September was one which saw gradual improvement. He began a tour of Spain in Madrid, where he was seeded second but fell in the second round after a disappointing performance which saw him win more points but lose the match. But lessons were clearly learnt, and two weeks later Gill returned to action in Melilla, reaching the semi-finals as the top seed before another defeat to Spanish opposition. But the cherry on top came last week, when he entered the slightly higher-level event in Sabadell, and despite being completely unseeded, worked his way through the draw before eventually losing 6-4 6-4 in the final against seventh seed Vilius Gaubas. That result will see Felix return to the top 500 next week, and he’s down for more tournaments in Spain for October. Onwards!
Giles Hussey – Age 26 – Current WR: 526th – Career High: 475th
Week 35: ITF15, Budapest, Hungary: WIN
Week 38: ITF15, Danderyd, Sweden: WIN
Week 39: ITF25, Falun, Sweden: R2
Two titles in two attempts meant September was an excellent month for 26-year-old Giles Hussey. He kicked things off with a spectacular first title of the year in Hungary, where, as the second seed, he beat fellow Brit Hamish Stewart in the semi-finals before overcoming Brazilian fourth seed Gabriel Decamps in the final, 2-6, 6-3, 6-3. Hussey was magnificent on big points during the match, breaking serve five times from seven opportunities. Hussey then took a couple of weeks off before returning to action in Sweden for a double-header: he won again in Danderyd after facing just one break point in his victory over third seed Mats Rosenkranz of Germany in the final, and then stepped up a level to the ITF25 in Falun the following week, where he ran into fellow Brit Anton Matusevich in the second round. Matusevich took the first set on a tiebreak before Hussey retired from the match, hopefully just exhausted from his exertions the previous week.
Anton Matusevich – Age 22 – Current WR: 581st – Career High: 388th
Week 35: ITF25, Sion, Switzerland: RU
Week 37: ITF25, Plaisir, France: SF
Week 39: ITF25, Falun, Sweden: QF
22-year-old Anton Matusevich was once ranked 12th on the junior tour and was spoken about in the same breath as Jack Draper as a potential up-and-coming future British number one. Since then, things haven’t quite gone his way, although his results in September suggest he may not be too far away from a breakthrough. Matusevich began the month ranked outside the top 700, but three consecutive quarter-finals or better have seen him improve that to be within the top 600. His best result of the month came on the clay in Switzerland, where he made a run unseeded to the final before losing to home favourite and third seed Remy Bertola in straight sets, but a semi-final in France and a quarter-final in Sweden saw him put together a record of nine wins and three defeats across the month – a very nice return for Anton.
Stuart Parker – Age 26 – Current WR: 745th – Career High: 346th
Week 38: ITF25, Setubal, Portugal: R1
Week 39: ITF15, Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt: RU
A quiet month for Stuart began just a couple of weeks ago in Portugal with a first-round defeat which did nothing to improve his form or ranking. However, Stuart snapped a five-match losing streak in the first round in Egypt with a confidence-boosting 6-3 6-0 over Italian opposition. This win set things in motion for a run to the final in Egypt, which saw Parker beat fellow Brit David Quayle in the second round, before an eventual defeat to local opposition in the final saw his dreams of a title ended. Stuart will stay in Egypt for a spell now, so let’s see if he can back up that run to the final in the weeks to come.
Hamish Stewart – Age 24 – Current WR: 844th – Career High: 839th
Week 35: ITF15, Budapest, Hungary: SF
Week 38: ITF15, Danderyd, Sweden: QF
Week 39: ITF15, Forbach, France: RU
Three excellent weeks for Hamish Stewart saw him reach the quarter-finals or better in three countries in September. The month began with an unseeded semi-final run in Hungary, where he would eventually lose to fellow Brit Giles Hussey, who went on to win the tournament. Then he went to Sweden and made the quarters, before his piece de resistance took place in France, as he entered again unseeded and put together a string of four victories before losing to Estonian Daniil Glinka in the final. These results gave Hamish his career best ranking mid-month, and should he continue to perform this well, that will further rise in the coming weeks and months.
Hannah Klugman – Age 14 – Current WR: 1105th – Career High: 1095th
Week 35: J300, Repentigny, Canada: RU
Week 36: US Open Juniors: QF
14-year-old Hannah Klugman took her junior career-high ranking up to 14th with two excellent performances in high-level junior events at the end of August and start of September. Don’t forget, junior rankings can contain players up to the age of 18, so to be ranked 14th at just 14 years of age is mightily impressive, even if many of the best young tennis players move onto the senior tour before they reach 18. Klugman lost to fellow Brit Mingge Xu in the final of the J300 in Canada after a wonderful run to the final, before a brilliant display in the junior competition of the US Open to reach the quarters: her third-round victory over 18-year-old third seed Sayaka Ishii 6-4 6-1 was particularly impressive. Onwards and upwards for Hannah!
Mingge Xu – Age 16 – Current WR: 1238th – Career High: 1033rd
Week 35: J300, Repetigny, Canada: WIN
Week 36: US Open Juniors: R2
16-year-old Mingge Xu – Mimi, as she often prefers to be referred to – got the better of her young rival Hannah Klugman in the final of the J300 in Canada before the junior US Open. Xu dropped the first set to the 14-year-old, but surged back in the second set, handing out a bagel to Klugman, before the two British youngsters fought tooth and nail in the decider, with Xu eventually emerging victorious 3-6 6-0 7-5. Xu couldn’t fully translate this form into the US Open – she lost in the second round to American wildcard Aspen Schuman – but she now sits at a junior career high of 16th, just two places back from Klugman. It is hoped that these two young starlets will help each other develop in leaps and bounds with their rivalry in the months and years to come.
Allegra Korpanec Davies – Age 15 – Current JWR: 291st – Career High: 272nd
Week 37: J100, Johannesburg, South Africa: RU
Week 38: J100, Pretoria, South Africa: SF
Two excellent results in South Africa for 15-year-old Allegra Korpanec Davies, who improved her win-loss record for the year to 30-14, with seven wins and two defeats in the two tournaments she chose to take part in this month. Davies was seeded third at the first J100, in Jo-burg, and lost in straight sets in the final to fourth-seeded South African Donna Le Roux. She was eliminated by local opposition again the following week, going down 7-6(2) 7-5 in the semi-final against the top seed, Kaitlyn Leigh Ramduth, whom she had beaten in the semis the previous week. Swings and roundabouts, as they say, but some encouraging results for young Allegra as she fights to prove herself on the junior tour.
Mark Ceban – Age 14 – Current JWR: 849th – Career High: 842nd
Week 36: J200, Rakovnik, Czechia: R2
Week 37: J30, Horn, Switzerland: RU
Mark Ceban is a player we’ve kept an eye on for much of this year, and his progress since beginning the year at U14 level has been remarkable. In his very first career ITF Junior event outside the UK in May, he won the title, and he almost repeated the feat in Switzerland in mid-September, falling just one match short. But it was his result at the J200 event that really shed light upon this kid’s potential: Ceban came through qualifying and won his opening match before coming up against Greek 17-year-old and 15th seed Andreas Loizas in the second round. Ceban may have eventually lost, but he took the first set 6-1 and certainly made an impact on his Greek opponent who was over three years his elder. Still much more to come from this young man, that’s for sure.