Lancashire Times
Weekend Edition
Mark Gregory
4:50 PM 18th April 2023

British Tennis Watch – Week 15

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:

British Women fail to qualify for Billie Jean King Cup
Only one win at the Monte Carlo Masters for the Men
Kyle Edmund finally wins a match in 2023

Billie Jean King Cup

It wasn’t to be for the British Women in the qualifying round for the 2023 Billie Jean King Cup, due to take place in November 2023. Britain needed a qualifying victory over France to reach the finals at the end of the year, but with a tough draw against the nation seeded third, they were always the underdogs against a strong French team led by world number four Caroline Garcia.

Katie Boulter did her utmost to upset expectations in the opening singles rubber against Garcia, taking the Frenchwoman to three consecutive tiebreaks and losing two of them, eventually going down 6-7(2) 7-6(4) 7-6(2). Harriet Dart also fought hard against Alize Cornet in the second singles match, losing via two tiebreaks of her own, 7-6(6) 7-6(3). Alicia Barnett and Olivia Nicholls brought some hope back to the British squad with their narrow victory in the doubles match, but a three-set defeat from Dart against Garcia sealed the tie in the French’s favour.

Britain will be playing in the Billie Jean Cup in November, but in the playoffs instead of the finals; they’ll need to win that fixture to earn a chance at qualifying for the finals in 2024.

ATP/WTA Main Tour

1000 Level

British players aren’t well renowned for being good on clay, but it was a disappointing week for the four British men in action at the ATP Masters 1000 event in Monte Carlo this week – especially for Cameron Norrie, the current British number one, who has been playing well on clay so far this season but was unable to get past his first round open in the principality.

Norrie lost in straight sets to Argentinian Francisco Cerundolo, a dangerous player on clay in fairness, but Norrie won just 53% of points on his first serve, down from a season average of 73%, and looked out of sorts for the majority of the match. Andy Murray and Dan Evans both joined him in the first round exit pile, with Murray winning just four games against 1rth seed Alex De Minaur and Evans surrendering a one-set lead against qualifier Ilya Ivashka.

The only first round winner was young gun Jack Draper, who did as well as could have been expected by reaching the second round. Unseeded, the 21-year-old beat Sebastian Baez of Argentina 6-3 7-5 in the first round before coming up against big serving Pole Hubert Hurkacz, who hammered down 20 aces and won 86% of first serve points en route to a tough victory over the Brit, 6-3 6-7(3) 7-5.

ATP Challenger Tour / WTA/ITF Futures Tour

130 Level

Three British women were hoping to make an impact at the ITF130 event in Zaragoza, Spain this week, but only one of them could manage a win. Eden Silva and Freya Christie were both seeded in qualifying, but Silva, the top seed, was broken seven times in her defeat to Joelle Steur of Germany, ranked almost 250 places beneath her, while Christie was up against fellow Brit Amanda Carreras in the first qualifying round, with 32-year-old Carreras picking up the win against her younger opponent. Carreras then went on to lose in the final qualifying round in three tight sets to Sofya Lansere.

80 Level

Katie Swan and Emily Appleton were both involved at the ITF80 in Chiasso, Switzerland, on clay this week. It was two defeats from two, though, with Appleton losing in the first round of qualifying in three close sets, and Swan, despite being seeded fourth in the main draw, going down 7-6(3) 6-4 to Barbora Palicova of Czechia in the first round.

75 Level

Billy Harris snapped a three-match losing streak at the CH75 in Madrid this week to pick up his first win since his run to the CH75 final in Spain in March. Harris won two matches to emerge successfully from the qualifying draw, but was handed a tough draw in the main draw proper against Alexander Shevchenko, the second seed. Shevchenko beat Harris 6-2 4-6 6-3 and eventually went on to win the title; Harris picked up a handful of points to push him up to 300th in the world, just ten places shy of his career high of 290th.

Meanwhile, in Mexico, Jay Clarke and Aidan McHugh were involved in qualifying for the CH75 in Leon. Clarke was the top seed in qualifying, but his poor season continued: he lost 7-6(10) 6-3 despite having five set points in the first set to clock up his tenth defeat in sixteen games so far this year. Aidan McHugh did slightly better with a first qualifying round victory, but lost to veteran Benjamin Lock of Zimbabwe in the final qualifying round.

50 Level

Modest success at ITF50 level for British women this week: The best result came in Burundi, as Tiffany William continued her decent return to tennis action with an appearance in the quarter-finals after qualifying for the main draw. William, 28, needed just one win to reach her second successive main draw event of the year, and proceeded to defeat the fifth seed and then a fellow qualifier to reach the quarter-finals. There she met the second seed, Alice Robbe of France, and she was defeated 6-4 6-1 in a relatively straightforward match.

In Egypt, a plethora of Brits remain for the weekly ITF events, and three were in the main draw, with Jasmine Conway losing in the final qualifying round before sneaking in as a lucky loser, Emilie Lindh securing a wildcard, and Anna Brogan getting a direct entry on merit. It was Brogan who reached the second round after a well-fought first round win, but she pulled out of her match with an injury, so we wish her well with her recovery.

The only other Brit in action at this level this week was Yuriko Miyazaki, who lost in the opening round in the USA to the top seed, Emma Navarro.

25 Level

Kyle Edmund was attempting to play his way into some sort of form at the ITF25 event in Italy this week. The former British number one, who is returning from a lengthy injury layoff, had lost his previous five matches this calendar year, and so perhaps thought a drop down into lower-level tournaments was necessary. And it worked, to an extent – Edmund picked up his first two wins of the year to reach the quarter-finals, but did lose to a local qualifier once got there. Encouraging signs that the wins are still there for the 28-year-old, but it does look like a long road back to the top.

Elsewhere, Alastair Gray was seeded fourth in Sharm El-Sheikh. Gray won his first match 6-0 6-4 but was unable to go any further, losing in three sets in the second round. Finally, Damian Rodriguez failed to make it through qualifying in Indonesia.

15 Level

Meanwhile, Louis Allen was one win away from qualifying for the main draw in Tunisia after winning his first two matches, although Dean Cooper Kirby was eliminated in the first qualifying round; in Turkey, unranked Felix Mischker popped up in qualifying again but lost 7-5 6-1; and in Spain, Patrick Foley entered his first tournament since February only to lose 7-5 6-1 in the first qualifying round as well.

And Elbert Barr secured a third wildcard of the year into an ITF15 main draw event, his second in two weeks over in Ecuador on the clay. But he couldn’t make the most of it this time, losing 6-4 6-4 to an American wildcard in the first round.

10 Level

Not a lot of interest on the lowest rungs of senior women’s tennis this week: in Spain, Sarah Tatu qualified for the main draw in Telde but was eliminated by the fourth seed in the first round, while Yasmina El Sayed, given a wildcard into qualifying, lost 6-0 6-0 in the first round. Meanwhile, in Tunisia, Georgina Hays was close to securing qualification for the ITF10 in Monastir but fell one match short, while compatriot Isabelle Cherny managed just one win in qualifying.

Junior Tennis

J100 Level

With U18 nationals going on this week (see below), there wasn’t much action on the junior tour, but there were a few young guns in action. At the Turkey J100, Taymur Mohammed was unable to join Aryan Singh and Maria Ustic in the main draws – he lost in the final qualifying round. Singh couldn’t get out of round one, but Ustic reached the third round before retiring with an injury. In Tunisia, meanwhile, Vlada Kozak lost in the second round.

J60 Level

Sophie Bekker reached the quarter-finals of the J60 in Israel this week although Dina Lipovski lost a topsy-turvy first round match 6-3 0-6 6-0. There was another quarter-finalist in Latvia as Finbar McGarvey made the quarters before losing out in a tight three-set quarter-final, although wildcard Allegra Hodson lost in the opening round.

In the Dominican Republic, Athina Schlepphorst was seeded fourth and made the quarter-finals, while Maxwell Castle made the last 16 as the eighth seed – neither youngster was able to fully fulfil their seeding, but both picked up a handful of wins to add to their collection.

J30 Level

Lois Newberry, fresh from the U16 LTA National Championship semi-finals, reached the quarter-finals in Belgium at the J30 this week, and her younger sister Eloise also won her first round match before being beaten in the second round. In Botswana, 14-year-old Ria Ferguson reached the quarter-finals in her first ever ITF junior tournament, while Sam Park made the second round in the Boys’ draw. And in Austria, Isabella Gibson won one and lost one to reach the last 16.

LTA Junior National Championships

It was the turn of the U18 Boys and Girls to take part in the LTA National Championships this week, with the winners earning a wildcard into senior Wimbledon qualifying (among other things).

In the Boys’ draw, despite being unseeded, reigning champion Luca Pow managed to retain his title after some impressive performances against his peers. Pow was joined by Phoenix Weir, Henry Searle, and top seed Oliver Bonding in the semi-finals after beating in-form Charlie Robertson in the quarters, and Pow beat second seed Weir in three sets to reach the final. His opponent was Bonding, who won impressively against Henry Searle in straight sets in the semis, but it was underdog Pow who clinched the title and the rewards that go with it for a second straight year.

In the Girls’ draw, U16 champion Hannah Klugman was again a finalist in the U18 draw, but couldn’t go all the way after she was defeated by fourth seed Isabelle Lacy in the final. Lacy beat top seed Ella McDonald in the semi-finals while Klugman faced Mika Stojsavljevic in the other semi after reigning champion Mingge Xu withdrew with an injury. But it was Lacy who emerged triumphant against the unseeded Klugman in the final, winning 3-6 6-3 6-3 to earn her shot at Wimbledon qualifying in June.

LTA British Tour

At the Grade 2 event in Newport this week, there was a second straight British Tour title for Oscar Wai, who beat Nikolai Marin in the final. Wai, who came to the UK from Hong Kong at the height of the COVID pandemic, seems to be finding some form at this level of competition. In the Women’s draw, Kate Mansfield beat Isabella Walker in the final. Mansfield has entered qualifying at two ITF50 events so far this year but fallen at the final qualifying hurdle each time so far.

UK Pro League

Week 5 of the UK Pro League took place in Aldershot this week, and there were victories for Katy Dunne and Giles Hussey in the Women’s and Men’s draws respectively.

Dunne has struggled on the ITF Tour so far this season, having played in three events and having only managed to qualify for a main draw once, so a string of victories here will hopefully have played her into form ahead of an ITF50 in Nottingham next week. Dunne beat Katie Stresnakova of Slovakia in the final, while Alice Gillan and Eliz Maloney were the semi-finalists.

In the Men’s draw, Hussey triumphed over Hamish Stewart in the final in straight sets. Hussey had an encouraging start to 2023 with a run to the ITF25 semi-finals in France in January, but had since found limited opportunities on the ITF tour. He’ll be seeded at the Nottingham ITF25 next week, so this title will definitely help his form going into the event. The defeated semi-finalists were Louis Bowden and Joshua Goodger.