Lancashire Times
Weekend Edition
Mark Gregory
8:44 PM 9th May 2023

British Tennis Watch – Week 18

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

Week 18 – 1–7 May 2023

In this week’s edition:

Andy Murray wins a Challenger title in France
Harriet Dart and George Loffhagen are the Nottingham ITF Champions
Katie Boulter reaches an ITF final in Japan

ATP Challenger Tour / WTA/ITF Futures Tour

175 Level


Andy Murray fans won’t be used to seeing the former world number one playing on the Challenger Tour, but with the introduction of higher-level Challenger events in the second week of 1000 events for those eliminated earlier than anticipated has given some of the top players an opportunity to pick up more points from Challenger events than in previous seasons.

With all Brits eliminated before the second week of the Madrid Masters, it was Murray playing the highest-level tennis at the event in Aix-en-Provence. Murray was seeded fifth, and met top seed Tommy Paul, the American world number 17 in the final after an excellent run to the final. His route to victory included wins over entertaining veteran Gael Monfils and rising French star Luca van Assche; Murray didn’t drop a single set en route to his clash with Paul in the final.

The title decider was a topsy-turvy clash, with Murray looking out of sorts in the first set, which he dropped 6-2. But he roared back and raced into an unassailable lead in the second set, before maintaining his momentum into the deciding set and clinching the match, and the title, comfortably in the end. Murray’s record in three-set matches this year is so far unblemished – he’s won seven out of seven.

160 Level

There was also an opportunity for the higher-ranked Women to gain big points at the WTA160 event in Saint Malo, France. Four women were involved, with Jodie Burrage and Freya Christie (as a lucky loser) reaching the second round but no further. Christie beat fellow Brit Katie Swan in the first round but ran into eventual champion Sloane Stephens in the second round, winning just two games against the former US Open champion. Veteran Emily Webley-Smith also earned a wildcard into qualifying but couldn’t win her first match.

140 Level

Short and sweet here: two ladies were in action at two separate competitions. Yuriko Miyazaki was seeded in Bonita Springs, USA, but lost her opening match 6-4 6-4 to a local qualifier. Meanwhile, in Germany, Emily Appleton was seeded in qualifying, but she, too, lost her opening match.

130 Level

Much more to shout about at the ITF130 in Japan this week, as Katie Boulter surged all the way to the final in Gifu before eventually running out of steam against home favourite Himeno Sakatsume.

Boulter did have a fortuitous route to the final, facing three qualifiers and dropping just seven games in three matches against those qualifiers. It was her quarter-final match against the fifth seed Mai Hontama of Japan which caused her the most trouble, but it was still a relatively painless 6-4 7-6(1) victory for Boulter, who was seeded second at the event.

The final just got away from Boulter: her opponent, bolstered by home support, enjoyed six easy service holds, with Boulter unable to put enough pressure on Sakatsume’s serve, and Boulter herself being broken six times over the course of the 7-5 6-3 defeat.

The result does see Boulter rise in the rankings to inside the top 150, and she’ll stay in Japan for a grass-court event next week, where she’ll be the top seed.

75 Level

Another CH75 event for the Men in Czechia this week, and Billy Harris and Ryan Peniston were joined by Jan Choinski in Prague on the clay this time around. But Choinski and Harris were drawn against each other in the first qualifying round, with higher-ranked Choinski overcoming the older Harris and eventually reaching the main draw alongside Peniston. But it wasn’t a happy outing for either player in the first round: they both lost in three sets, with Peniston extending his losing streak to six matches as a result.

Three Men in action at CH75 level this week, with none of them getting past the first round. In the Czech Republic, Billy Harris couldn’t get through qualifying despite being seeded third, while Ryan Peniston, despite being the top seed, managed to compound his current losing streak to five matches after a straight-sets defeat to a local wildcard.

Meanwhile, in Savannah, USA, Blu Baker took out one qualifying seed on the clay in the States, but couldn’t get past local wildcard and 2022 Junior Australian Open champion Bruno Kuzuhara in the final qualifying round.

70 Level

Only one opportunity for the Women at ITF70 level this week – a tournament in Tbilisi, Georgia. Anna Brogan was the only British representative, and she came through a wild first round match against qualifier Kira Pavlova, 6-2 1-6 6-0, before squandering five match points in the second set of her second-round match against third seed Ankita Raina of India. Brogan led 6-2 6-6, and had five match points in the second set tiebreaker, but couldn’t convert any of them, and then collapsed in the final set, losing it 6-0. That’s a tough one to take.

60 Level

Three Brits were in action at the ITF60 in Tossa de Mar, Spain, but none of them made it past the first round. Matilda Mutavdzic and Gigi Hays met each other in the final round of qualifying, with 18-year-old Mutavdzic coming out on top. Mutavdzic joined Emilie Lindh in the main draw, with Mutavdzic losing out to a Spanish wildcard and Lindh going down in three tough sets against the eighth seed Lucie Nguyen Tan of France.

50 Level


It was a successful week for British interest at the third and final Nottingham ITF50 this week, with top seed Harriet Dart successfully dropping down from higher-level tennis to clinch the title ahead of a field much lower-ranked than her. Dart barely broke a sweat as she swept aside all five of her opponents, culminating in a 6-0 6-2 victory over Aussie qualifier Taylah Preston in an extremely one-sided final.

Eliza Maloney, the seventh seed, also reached the quarter-finals, as did qualifier Lauren John-Baptiste, who earned a nice rankings boost into the top 1000 as a result. 17-year-old Ranah Stoiber made good use of her wildcard to reach the second round as well.

Side note: 21-year-old Olivia MacKellar took part in the ITF50 event in Cyprus this week. Her only previous result on the tour was a 6-0 6-0 defeat in Heraklion in November last year. She was unable to improve on that this week, once again losing 6-0 6-0.

25 Level


After his run to the quarter-finals last week, George Loffhagen clinched the ITF25 title in Nottingham this week to make it two out of two British titles on home soil at senior level. Loffhagen, 22, was unseeded in the draw, and beat hot prospect Charlie Robertson in the first round before taking out veteran Mark Whitehouse in the second. Two more victories over foreign opposition followed, before a strong 7-6(5) 6-2 victory over sixth seed Jules Marie in the final secured the title for the youngster.

It’s Loffhagen’s second ITF25 title of the year, having clinched one in India back in March, and his third final at this level after he made the final in Loughborough all the way back in January.

Giles Hussey reached his second consecutive semi-final – he beat seventh seeded Brit Aidan McHugh to earn that place in the last four, while the aforementioned McHugh and qualifier Joshua Goodger were quarter-finalists. Daniel Little, Harry Wendelken, qualifiers Louis Bowden and Alexis Canter, and wildcard Patrick Brady all joined Whitehouse in the second round before being eliminated.

Elsewhere, Felix Mischker lost in the final qualifying round in Italy, while Felix Gill and Zach Stephens both lost their opening matches in Spain: Gill in the first round of the main draw, and Stephens in the first round of qualifying.

15 Level

Unusually, there were very few Brits in action at ITF15 level this week, with only one tournament offering some interest for the British fan. In Tunisia, four hopefuls took to qualifying, with Parth Shah, Carl Holder, and Louis Allen all falling in the first round of qualifying. Alexsandar Andic went one step further, but then had to retire in his second qualifying match. We hope it’s nothing too serious.

10 Level

In Serbia, Tiffany William battled through three tough rounds of qualifying to reach the main draw. Unfortunately she couldn’t go that step further and secure a ranking point – she lost 6-2 7-5 to the fourth seed. Meanwhile, Lucy Dawson, 20, did the best of the Brits in Tunisia this week, winning one qualifying match before losing the next; Anjali Kotecha and Naomi Jackson both lost in the first qualifying round.

Junior Tennis

J200 Level

Two J200 events with British interest this week, but no real groundbreaking results: in the Girls’ draw in Targu Jiu, Romania, second seed Imogen Haddad, 17, made the semi-finals before losing to an unseeded Hungarian 16-year-old, while Gabia Paskauskas lost in the first round to the top seed. Meanwhile, in the Girls’ draw in Villach, Austria, Ruby Cooling was handed a tough first-round draw against third seed Nahum Gloriana, and lost 6-2 6-3, while Kai-Luca Ampaw lost in the first qualifying round in the Boys’ draw.

J100 Level

Finbar McGarvey, 17, made a decent run into the quarter-finals of the J100 in Canada this week, but Max Castle (in Costa Rica) and Zech Hamrouni (in Algeria) both lost in the second round of their respective tournaments. In Australia, Josh Hinton missed out on the main draw but Wambui Taylor did make it before losing in the first round.

J60 Level

Jay Johnson-Hauldren, 16, reached the quarter-finals of the J60 in North Macedonia this week, managing three straight wins before being eliminated by the top seed and eventual champion Andreas Loizas of Cyprus. Meanwhile, Ollie Hopper reached the second round in Panama, and Luka Matellini lost in the first round in Peru.

J30 Level

And finally, Dylan Marks lost in the first round in Jamaica, while Finn Lester, Macy Denney Richards, Arabella Loftus and Freya Peet all won one and lost one to reach the second round and no further in Spain.

Sometimes I think these young guns get around even more than the senior players do!

LTA British Tour

There was another Grade 2 event this week, in Altrincham. Cameron Fryer won the title as the sixth seed – Fryer is 17 and made some small inroads into the ITF Junior tour last year, but is yet to play a match above British Tour level so far this year. His beaten opponent in the final was Robert Cowley, while top two seeds Stefan Cooper and Jamie Crowfoot were the semi-finalists.

In the Women’s draw, Kate Mansfield won yet again without dropping a set – that’s her fourth British Tour title of the year so far, and she currently leads the Women’s British Tour rankings as a result. Elizabeth Evans was the beaten finalist, while Amelia Fortescue and Annabelle Lammas made the semis.