Lancashire Times
Weekend Edition
Mark Gregory
1:56 PM 12th April 2023

British Tennis Watch – Week 14

In this long-running series of articles, we will be reviewing all the action in the world of British tennis, from Grand Slams to Juniors.

We’ll be trying to cover all manner of tennis at various different levels, with a focus on British prospects. For now, though, we will be keeping our focus on Singles action, and putting Doubles to one side except for big events such as the Grand Slams.

The article is split into different levels – these levels are based on the number of points available for the winner of each tournament. For example, a tournament at ‘250 Level’ means there are 250 ranking points available for the winning player.

Please let us know if we miss anyone off by emailing me at

In this week’s edition:

Francesca Jones makes an unlikely semi-final in Colombia
Sonay Kartal wins an ITF title in Italy
Dan Evans and Jan Choinski also make semi-final appearances

ATP/WTA Main Tour

500 Level

There were a couple of Brits trying to qualify for the WTA International 500 event in Charleston, USA this week, with limited success: Yuriko Miyazaki came up against former Grand Slam champion Sabine Lisicki in her opening qualifying match, and lost 6-1 7-6(5) despite a spirited effort in the second set. Heather Watson did manage to get a win on the board, but was ultimately eliminated in the final qualifying round by Hailey Baptiste.

250 Level

There were some hugely encouraging performances from both British men and women at 250 Level this week, with the standout performance coming from an unlikely source – Francesca Jones.

Jones, who returned to the tour early this year after almost 12 months out following an injury sustained in qualifying for the 2022 Australia Open, had limited her performances to 50 and 70-Level events on the South American clay so far this season, having reached no further than the quarter-finals in any of the four clay events so far this year.

So entry into the WTA 250 event in Bogota, Colombia this year ought to have been a significant step up in quality for the 22-year-old, but rather than quail under the pressure, Jones rose to it, and made an unlikely run to the semi-finals before losing to eventual champion and Wimbledon 2022 semi-finalist Tatjana Maria of Germany.

Jones’ victories came over some top players, including world number 80 Nuna Parrizas Diaz of Spain, and top 125 player Laura Pigossi of Brazil. Given Jones’ ranking prior to the tournament was almost 800, those are quite some wins! Jones’ semi-final run surges her into the top 400 and earns her just over $10,000 – not bad for a week’s work!

There was more British success on clay this week on the Men’s side of things: Dan Evans, in preparation for the upcoming Monte Carlo Masters, was in Morocco for the ATP 250 in Marrakech, and he, too, reached the semi-finals, although as the second seed, may perhaps have been expected to go even further. Evans eventually came a cropper against Roberto Carballes Baena, who ended up winning the final, too, but it’s a decent week nonetheless for Evans, who is on the verge of dipping out of the world’s top 32 and needs to maintain that ranking to enjoy seedings at the biggest events on the calendar.

Unfortunately, there was no such luck for Ryan Peniston in qualifying in Portugal – despite being seeded third, the out-of-form Brit lost 6-4 6-1 in another disappointing performance.

ATP Challenger Tour / WTA/ITF Futures Tour

75 Level

Jan Choinski continued his excellent recent form with a second successive semi-final in as many weeks over in Mexico this week. After last week’s semi-final appearance in Mexico City, Choinski and the Challenger tour headed to San Luis Potosí, and Choinski repeated the feat, taking out fifth seed Facundo Mena of Argentina in the first round before dispatching two unseeded opponents to reach the semis. German Dominik Koepfer stood in his way in the semis, and Choinski was unable to fashion even a single break point in a 6-3 6-3 defeat, but the semi-final appearance once again pushes him a little further up the rankings.

Elsewhere, though, there were British struggles in Murcia, Spain, as Kyle Edmund’s return from injury continued to go rather slowly – Edmund, the former world number 14 who now sits outside the top 500, was gifted a wildcard into the CH75 but lost his seventh game on the trot, surrendering a 3-0 lead in the final set to lose 1-6 6-3 6-3. Edmund plans to drop down to ITF events next week to play himself into some form, so we continue to wish him all the best in returning to the high standard he was at before his unfortunate injury.

Billy Harris was also in action in Murcia, but he lost in the first qualifying round.

50 Level


You could say it has been coming: despite flying under the radar somewhat in our opening reports of the year, Sonay Kartal has been playing well for the best part of the first three months of the year. Despite starting her season off with two defeats in Australia, Kartal has won at least one match in every other tournament she has played this year, racking up a record of eight wins and four defeats in her last twelve matches going into the ITF50 in Italy this week.

Kartal, who enjoys the clay, was seeded seventh at the clay event in Santa Margherita di Pula, took out top seeded Dutch player Arantxa Rus en route to a final against Ekaterina Makarova. Kartal, as she did in the semi-final, dropped the first set but surged back to win 3-6 6-2 6-1, winning twelve of the last thirteen games to complete a superb comeback. Kartal will remain in Italy for next week’s event, where still be seeded seventh again.

Elsewhere, unranked 28-year-old Tiffany William, who returned to the tour in October last year after over two years out, successfully qualified for the main draw of the ITF50 in Burundi, but earned a dreadful draw against top seeded local Sada Nahimana and lost 6-2 6-2 – but she’ll be trying again next week as well.

15 Level

Several young Brits were in action in Tunisia again this week, most of them in qualifying, and although none made it into the main draw, there were a couple of wins on offer for Charlie Robertson, who has been performing well on the junior tour in recent weeks. The step up to senior action proved a little too tough for Robertson to gain his first senior ranking point, but he will be pleased with two wins in qualifying before ultimately losing in the final qualifying round. Henry Jefferson, Freddy Blaydes, and Louis Allen also won one qualifying match, while Phoenix Weir, who earned entry into the main draw via his junior ranking, lost in straight sets to a local 19-year-old.

In Egypt, Millen Hurrion qualified for his second ITF15 tournament in a row after another successful run through qualifying. This week, though, he couldn’t back it up with a main draw win, losing 6-2 6-1 to the second seed. Freddie Ridout won one qualifying match while Max Benaim was eliminated in the first qualifying round.

There were some encouraging performances in France, too, where both Tiran Sanghera and Sean Hodkin reached the main draw after getting through qualifying. Despite the pair of them drawing a qualifier and a wild card respectively in the first round, neither could capitalise on the kind draw, and both were eliminated in three sets.

Meanwhile, Elbert Barr secured an unlikely rankings point this week as a wildcard in the Dominican Republic: the 20-year-old snapped a four-match losing streak to win in straight sets against Antonio Cayetano March of Ecuador to secure only his second ATP rankings point. Finally, in Turkey, Felix Mischker lost in the second qualifying round.

10 Level

After Emilie Lindh’s final appearance in Egypt last week, several British ladies were trying to emulate her this week, and although Lindh, as well as Jasmine Conway and Kristina Paskauskas, were all eliminated in the first round, qualifier Eva Shaw reached the second round while 16-year-old Isabelle Lacy reached the semi-finals in a mightily impressive performance from the youngster.

Lacy has performed well at the highest level of junior competition this year so far, having reached a J300 semi-final in Colombia back in February, and backed that up this week with three victories in Sharm El-Sheikh to further boost her senior ranking.

There was a flurry of British interest in Tunisia, too, with three direct entrants to the main draw and one British qualifier. Talia Nelson Gatenby, 17, had a great week, reaching the semi-finals as the seventh seed and further boosting her already impressive senior ranking. Highly-rated junior Mingge Xu and Ella McDonald were both here too – Xu, 15, won her first round match – her first career senior main draw win – while McDonald lost to Gigi Hays, the sole British qualifier. Both Hays and Xu lost in the second round. Meanwhile, Hannah Rylatt, Isabelle Cherny, and Millie Skelton couldn’t get out of qualifying.

Elsewhere, in Spain, Sarah Tatu qualified for the main draw and won her first round match before eventually losing in the second (compatriot Jizel Matos Sequeira Fernandes lost in qualifying); and in Singapore, Isabella Lynch lost in qualifying,

Junior Tennis

J200 Level

Only Marelie Raath was in action at J200 level this week, and she won one match in France before losing in the second round to a much higher-ranked opponent, 6-1 6-0.

J100 Level

Maria Ustic turned up in Turkey this week for the J100, forgoing the British Nationals events (see below), and having a decent stab at things – Ustic reached the semi-finals after victories over the eighth and fourth seeds, before eventually losing to top seed Marie Slamenikova of Czechia in the final, 6-3 6-1.

In Tunisia, Imogen Haddad went one step further than Ustic by reaching the Girls’ final as the second seed. Haddad, 17, couldn’t capitalise on her first final appearance of the year and eventually went down 6-3 6-0 in a one-sided final, but an excellent week nonetheless for the youngster. Vlada Kosak lost in the first round.

J60 Level


With a J60 taking place in Dublin this week, there were plenty of British in action alongside their Irish counterparts across the Irish Sea. And it was a good week for 17-year-old Luke Hooper, who won the Boys’ title ahead of Pole Szymon Janzenafter defeating fellow Brit Robin McAlpine in the semi-final. There was also a quarter-final appearance for Sai Gandepalli. In the Girls’ draw, Sirena Waas got the furthest, reaching the quarter-finals, although Ava Williamson and Sophia Kovacheva both made the last 16.

Elsewhere, Annabel Hristova won a couple of rounds in Malta, Maxwell Castle and Athina Schlepphorst both reached the quarter-finals in the Dominican Republic, Daisy Clifford did the same in Trinidad and Tobago, top seed Aryan Singh, unable to capitalise on his title last week, lost in the first round in Namibia, and Hector Fullone and Annalise Smith both fell in the first round in Spain.

J30 Level

Sergiy Rafiee made the quarter-finals in Honduras, but aside from that there was no other British interest at the lowest level of the junior tour.


Aryan Jit Singh, newly representing Great Britain at 17 years of age after initially flying the flag for India, won a J30 title in Namibia this week as the top seed. It’s a modest achievement given he’s almost no longer eligible for junior competition, but a title is a title.

In Trinidad and Tobago, Daisy Clifford lost in the second round, but elsewhere it was first round defeats across the board – Sergiy Rafiee in Honduras, Aleksandar Borisov and Gabriela Pacheco-Lagoda in Malta, and Sushanth Srinivasan and Aadya Iyer Chadalawada in India.

LTA Junior National Championships

So, this and next week will see two sets of Junior National Championships at the National Tennis Centre, with several well-known names getting involved and being given a chance to earn wildcards into various junior events on the grass-court calendar later in the year.

It was the turn of the U16s this week, and in the Boys’ event, the top two seeds – Oliver Bonding and Benjamin Gusic Wan – battled their way through to the final, where they played out a tense and gripping final. The players shared tiebreaks in the first two sets before a crucial break of serve in the decider allowed Gusic Wan to emerge the victor, 7-6(2) 6-7(2) 6-3. Young Mark Ceban was seeded third but lost in the quarter-finals to wildcard Zechariah Hamrouni, while the other semi-finalist was Alfie King.

In the Girls’ draw, Hannah Klugman destroyed the rest of the field to clinch victory, dropping just eleven games in four matches. Seeded second, she took out Tegan Bush (6-0 6-0!) in the semis and Mika Stojsavljevic in the final to earn an impressive title. The other semi-finalist was Lois Newberry, who beat top seed Hephzibah Oluwadare in the quarters.