Lancashire Times
Weekend Edition
Mark Gregory
10:52 AM 16th May 2023

British Tennis Watch – Week 19

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 19 – 8–14 May 2023

In this week’s edition:

Cameron Norrie is the last Brit standing at the Masters in Rome.
Katie Boulter reaches another final in Japan
Youngster Ingrid Dumitru wins an U12 event in Romania.

ATP/WTA Main Tour

1000 Level

With Emma Raducanu having recently revealed that she has undergone surgery that may keep her out of action for almost a year, the main tour events from a British perspective may be a little top-heavy for the foreseeable future, with four men currently in the world’s top 100 as opposed to zero on the women’s side.

That meant that there was British interest in the main draw at the Rome ATP 1000 this week, and only one attempt at qualifying on the women’s side. That came from Harriet Dart, who was coming into qualifying having won the ITF25 in Nottingham last week, but the step up in class – and the change of surface – was too much for Dart, and she lost her opening qualifying match despite winning the first set.

On the Men’s side, then, three of the top 100 were in action – with Jack Draper the absentee – while Kyle Edmund earned a main draw slot through his protected ranking, and Ryan Peniston and Jan Choinski both attempted to qualify for the main draw. Neither did so, although Choinski did win one match before losing to Thanasi Kokkinakis in the final qualifying round.

That left four, and three are out as things stand – Edmund and Andy Murray were both knocked out in the first round. Edmund has struggled to get back to his best levels after a lengthy injury, and he was again soundly beaten this week, by qualifier Alexandre Muller of France. Murray was up against another veteran, 35-year-old Italian wildcard Fabio Fognini. The pair had met eight times before on tour, sharing four wins apiece, but this one went in favour of the Italian, 6-4 4-6 6-4 in a hugely competitive and entertaining matchup.

Thanks to their seedings, Cameron Norrie and Dan Evans earned byes through to the second round, but Evans was stopped in three close sets by Spaniard Roberto Carballes Baena, 7-6(5) 5-7 6-4. That just left British number one, Cameron Norrie, flying the flag for the UK. Norrie won his second round match – against the aforementioned Muller – before surging past Marton Fucsovics of Hungary in the third round. He now faces the rather daunting prospect of Novak Djokovic in the last 16 – Djokovic has won both of their previous meetings, including their last one in the semi-finals of last year’s Wimbledon.

ATP Challenger Tour / WTA/ITF Futures Tour

140 Level

There was a fairly high-level Women’s ITF event in Slovakia this week, worth up to 140 points for the champion. Freya Christie managed to pick up four points after she reached the second round of qualifying – she beat Adriana Tkachenko, a Ukrainian wildcard, in the first qualifying round before falling to the twelfth qualifying seed Ivan Sebestova of Czechia. Freya has struggled for form this year, having won eight matches on tour and lost nine, although she has managed to push up her ranking slightly since the turn of the year.

80 Level

Katie Boulter came close to clinching a title once again on the carpet of Japan, reaching her second consecutive final before withdrawing before the match had started. Boulter is currently the British number three, and these two results in Japan will see her move towards Jodie Burrage and Emma Raducanu ahead of her, as well as the top 100. She’s actually the woman who has earned the most ranking points so far this year.

Boulter was the top seed at this week’s competition, and once again faced predominantly East Asian opposition in the early rounds. She found it tough against eighth seeded En Shoo Lang of Chinese Taipei in the quarter-finals, coming through via a tiebreaker in the deciding set, before another tight clash against America’s Emina Bektas in the semis, another tie decided with a final set tiebreaker. But Boulter withdrew from the final with an undisclosed issue, and has since withdrawn from next week’s competition too – here’s hoping it’s nothing too serious.

Elsewhere at this level, Heather Watson was seeded fourth at the event in Croatia, but lost in a hugely competitive last 16 contest, going down 6-7(2) 6-4 7-6(7) to Lina Gjorcheska of North Macedonia. Naiktha Bains was also in qualifying but couldn’t get past her final qualifying opponent.

50 Level

There was some encouraging results for Brits at three different 50-level events on the Women’s tour this week, with two quarter-finalists and one semi-finalist to shout about. Sonay Kartal, who has been performing well on the European ITF circuit so far this year, reached her fourth semi-final of the year in Spain, more than fulfilling her fifth seeding, before running into Brazilian fourth seed Carolina Alves in the semi-final and losing a topsy-turvy clash 7-5 0-6 6-1.

Eden Silva had a go at the Swedish clay this week after roughly a month away from the tour, and as the fifth seed at the ITF50 in Bastad, she did okay, fulfilling her seeding to reach the quarter-finals. She struggled past her first-round opponent before a somewhat smoother victory in the second round, before coming up against Swedish 25-year-old Kajsa Rinaldo Persson, and losing 7-5 7-6(0) in a tightly-contested match.

There was another quarter-finalist at this level for the Women, too – Anna Brogan, seeded tenth at the ITF50 in Georgia, took out eight seed Anna Kubareva on the last 16 en route to an excellent quarter-final appearance, but she couldn’t go any further: Polina Iatcenko, a young rising star at just 19 years of age, was her nemesis in the quarters. Isabella Lynch was eliminated in the first round of qualifying.

25 Level

Sometimes it’s worth dropping down a level or two to play yourself into some sort of winning form. That’s exactly what Jay Clarke did this week, taking part in the ITF25 event in Karlskrona, Sweden, on the clay. Clarke was seeded third and fulfilled his seeding, winning three consecutive matches, including a quarter-final against young Belgian Alexander Blockx, before losing a ding-dong battle against American second seed Oliver Crawford in the semis, 5-7 7-6(2) 7-6(6). Mark Whitehouse and Charles Broom were both here too, but they both lost in the opening round.

Meanwhile, Matthias Southcombe lost in qualifying in Serbia, and Zach Stephens earned a wildcard into the main draw in Spain, but lost 6-1 6-2.

15 Level

There was only one event with British interest at ITF15 level this week, but astonishingly there were seven Brits in qualifying in Tunisia, with some new names popping up. The best performance came from Louis Allen, who made it all the way to the third and final qualifying round before being knocked out. James Beaven, Kyle McKay, and Patrick Foley all won one match in qualifying, while Marcus McLaren, Carl Holder, and Dean Cooper Kirby were all first qualifying round casualties.

10 Level

Two events to get interested in, with one finalist: Ranah Stoiber, who is still eligible for junior competitions, entered her first non-British senior tour event of the year in Tunisia and made it all the way to the final, beating fellow Brit Talia Nelson Gatenby in the quarter-finals on the way. She really struggled in the final, though, losing 6-0 6-3, converting just one of eleven break points and only three of nineteen game points. What might have been! But it’s a learning curve for the 17-year-old, and we're sure she’ll come back bigger and better next time. Anjali Kotecha lost in qualifying.

Meanwhile, Eleanor Baglow made it through qualifying at the ITF10 in Antalya, Turkey, before running into the fourth seed and losing in straight sets.

Junior Tennis

J200 Level

Two more J200s with British interest this week. At the J200 in Germany, Hannah Read shone, unseeded, to reach the semi-finals after some marvellous performances, including a win over Polish fourth seed Olivia Bergier 7-5 7-6(3) in the quarters. Gabia Paskauskas was beaten in the first round.

At the J200 in Austria, Luke Hooper qualified for the main draw, joining Viktor Frydrych, Luca Bluett, and Ruby Cooling. But it was only Cooling who could secure a first round win, with the boys wiping out, but Cooling was handed the top seed in the second round and wasn’t up to that level, losing 6-4 6-1 in a decent performance.

J100 Level

Maxwell Castle had another solid if unspectacular run to the third round of a J100 in the Dominican Republic this week. His bane in this week’s competition was El Salvador’s Cesar Cruz, the event’s second seed, who beat him 6-2 6-2.

J60 Level

Not a lost of singles success at J60 level this week. In Spain, Macy Denney-Richards and Freya Peet both won one and lost one to reach the second round, leaving Sophie Quagraine and Finn Lester behind them in round one. In Turkey, Taylor Mohammed reached the second round but no further, while Aryan Singh lost in the first round, and in Canada, Finbar McGarvey was also eliminated in the first round.

J30 Level

A similar story at the lowest level of ITF junior competition – Lance Nisbet and Josie Ward both reached the second round in Tunisia, while Tom Lefranc (in Bulgaria) and Jay Johnson-Hauldren (in North Macedonia) both lost in the opening round.

Tennis Europe

U12 Level

We don’t dip down this far into junior competition very often, but there was an U12 Category 1 level event in Romania this week, which was won by 2011-born British-Romanian youngster Ingrid Dumitru, who represents Great Britain on the tour. Dumitru won the U12 Category 2 event in Wrexham back in April, and also reached a Category 1 final in Croatia back in March, so she’s doing well when she enters events.

The Brit blew the rest of the field away en route to the final, winning 6-1 6-1, 6-0 6-0, 6-4 1-0 (ret.), and 6-0 6-1 before a slightly more competitive final which was won in three sets. We wish Ingrid all the best for her further progress up the tennis echelons, and congratulations on this title!

UK Pro League

Week 6 of the UK Pro League took place in Aldershot this week, and saw Louis Bowden and Eliz Maloney take the title in the Men’s and Women’s draws respectively. Maloney has enjoyed decent success on the main ITF tour this year, winning 12 matches and losing 9 and enjoying an encouraging run to the ITF25 final in Loughborough at the start of the year. It’s Maloney’s third week of UK Pro League tennis, and her second successive final – she defeated Danielle Daley in the three sets in the final, while Jacquelyn Oguwale beat Kate Mansfield into third place.

In the Men’s draw, Louis Bowden, who has struggled to pick up points on the ITF tour this year, beat Oscar Weightman 6-4 7-5 in the final, with Ryan Storrie placing third. Bowden is making steady progress this year though – he won his first ever ITF main draw match back in April, and now has two ranking points to his name. This is his second UK Pro League title of the year, and it should see him rise to the top of the Men’s Pro League rankings for the year so far.

LTA British Tour

With the majority of the bigger names in action at the UK Pro League, there were a few newer names in contention for the Grade 2 British Tour event in Woking this week. The Men’s final was an all unseeded affair, with Hugo Coquelin beating Jake Evans 6-4 6-4. Coquelin, 17, has dabbled in both the junior and senior tours this year, while Jake Evans, also 17, hasn’t played tour-level tennis since he took on four ITF15s in Turkey last May. Benjamin Johnson and Zyaan Ahmed were the losing semi-finalists.

In the Women’s draw, second seed Ciara Moore beat wildcard Sophie Bekker in the final. You may remember Becker’s name – she’s a 14-year-old who has made some waves at the lower levels of ITF Junior competition this year so far, predominantly in South Africa and Bahrain. But Becker couldn’t get past Moore, 15, who needed three match tiebreaks in her three matches prior to the final before a straight-sets win over Bekker in the title decider. Alana Bristow and Arabella Loftus were the beaten semi-finalists.