search
date/time
Lancashire Times
Weekend Edition
frontpagebusinessartscarslifestylefamilytravelsportsscitechnaturefictionCartoons
Mark Gregory
Correspondent
@MarkBGregory
4:03 PM 27th June 2023
sports

British Tennis Watch – Week 25

 
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.

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 tennis@p.ublished.com.

Week 25 – 19–25 June 2023

In this week’s edition:

Harriet Dart makes the quarter-finals in Birmingham
Sonay Kartal reaches the semis at the ITF event in Ilkley
Two men and two women come through the Wimbledon wildcard playoffs

ATP/WTA Main Tour

Grand Slam

You might be thinking – hey, isn’t it a little early for talk about Wimbledon? It’s still two weeks away! Well, next week is the qualifying draw for the third Slam of the year, which means this week saw some wildcard playoffs. Every year, sixteen men and sixteen women who aren’t ranked highly enough in the world rankings and who haven’t received a wildcard through other routes are given a final chance to earn a wildcard into Wimbledon qualifying, with two men and two women earning those places.

In the Men’s draw, there were several familiar names, but in the end it was the top two seeds who secured their chances to reach the main draw of the British Grand Slam. Daniel Cox, the top seed, fought past Jacob Fearnley, Patrick Brady, and Millen Hurrion in that order to earn his spot, while Stuart Parker, the second seed, came past Joshua Paris, Mark Whitehouse, and Harry Wendelken to clinch his place. Wendelken did end up with a wildcard, too, despite losing in the semi-finals, thanks to there being an extra slot available, but Millen Hurrion, who did well to defeat third seed Giles Hussey in the second round, misses out due to his lower ranking.

In the Women’s draw, the final round of matches wasn’t played, in the end, because four wildcard slots emerged and all four semi-finalists ended up being granted them. Naiktha Bains came past Alice Gillan and Katy Dunne, Anna Brogan won against Sarah Beth Grey and Amarni Banks, Eden Silva beat Hephzibha Oluwadare and Ella McDonald, and Emily Appleton defeated Mika Stojsavlevic and Ciara Moore. So we’ll see four of those semi-finalists in next week’s Wimbledon qualifying draw.

500 Level

It was Queen’s this week for the Men, and there were eight British men involved, all-in-all. A lot of expectation was put on Andy Murray’s shoulders after his two consecutive Challenger-level titles last week and the week before, but the momentum somewhat fizzed out for the three-time Slam winner, who lost in the first round against the hard-hitting Australian Alex De Minaur 6-3 6-1. Let’s hope this gives Murray time to rest up and hit his peak ahead of the Wimbledon draw in under a week’s time.

The only two British first round winners were Ryan Peniston, who caused an upset against Ugo Humbert in the first round, and Cameron Norrie, who also won his second match to reach the quarter-finals. Norrie eventually lost against Sebastian Korda 6-4 7-6(1) in the quarters, but once again, decent consistency from the British number one. Dan Evans, Liam Broady, and Jan Choinski all lost in the first round, too, while Arthur Fery and Billy Harris couldn’t get through qualifying – although that said, Harris did manage a massive victory over Constant Lestienne of France in the first round of qualifying, winning 3-6 7-5 6-3 against the Frenchmen almost 300 places higher than him in the rankings.

250 Level

After last week’s successes in Nottingham, the WTA 250 event in Birmingham this week was a little bit of a comedown after the all-British final last week. Both Katie Boulter and Jodie Burrage, the finalists in Nottingham last week, lost in the first round in Birmingham, but Harriet Dart, a losing semi-finalist in Nottingham, had another promising week: She beat Burrage in three sets in the first round before taking out fifth seeded Ukrainian Angelina Kalinina 6-3 3-6 6-1 in the second round. Her run was eventually ended by fourth seed Anastasia Potapova in the quarters.

Meanwhile, all four British women who were awarded qualifying wildcards lost in the first qualifying round: Naiktha Bains, Emily Appleton, Eden Silva, and Amelia Rajecki – and all four of them went onto the Wimbledon wildcard playoffs later in the week.

ATP Challenger Tour / WTA/ITF Futures Tour

160 Level

Katie Swan decided to step away from Britain to take part in a grass tournament in Italy on the main WTA Tour, which was stylised as a WTA 125 event, but had 160 points on offer for the winner. Weird. Swan started the tournament brightly, beating second seed Sara Errani 7-5 7-5 in the first round, but en route to taking American Ashlyn Krueger to 5-5 in the deciding set, Swan began struggling with a back issue, and she couldn’t quite play on long enough to finish the match, retiring to prevent further damage. Let’s hope she’s fit enough for a stab at Wimbledon.

140 Level

If you haven’t been reading our coverage of the Ilkley Trophy this week, you ought to check it out – but in summary, wildcard Sonay Kartal had the most successful week for the British ladies at the ITF140 event, reaching the semi-finals after defeating the fifth and fourth seeds. She eventually lost to top seed Emma Navarro, but all-in-all an excellent week for the 21-year-old from Brighton. Isabelle Lacy, 16, made the second round and only narrowly lost to Spaniard Alina Bolsova, whom Kartal beat in the following round, while Yuriko Miyazaki and Anna Brogan lost in the first round.

There were encouraging performances in qualifying from some of our youngsters: Mingge Xu, 15, and Talia Neilson-Gatenby, 17, both won one match, while Hannah Klugman, 14, took her 31-year-old Dutch opponent to three sets in the first qualifying round, while Jasmine Conway, 18, also went the distance with her French opponent.

125 Level

The event in Ilkley was a CH125 event for the men, and there was slightly less British interest than at the previous two Challenger events. The star of the show was Charles Broom, who came through two qualifying matches – including a three set epic against Dennis Novak, in which all three sets were decided by tiebreaks – before demolishing his first two opponents in the main draw and almost finding a way past Hungarian Zsombor Piros in the quarter-finals before eventually being sunk, 6-7(3) 6-3 7-6(2).

Harry Wendelken, Toby Samuel, and Johannus Monday all earned wildcards into the main draw but couldn’t secure a win, while Dan Cox, Luca Pow, and Stuart Parker all lost in the first qualifying round.

50 Level

Only two women in action at this level, with most of the ladies usually playing at this level earning wildcards to the home events. Tiffany William, 28, lost in the final qualifying round at the ITF50 in Kansas, but earned a main draw slot as a lucky loser, where she proceeded to lose again. Her compatriot, Bronte Murgett, reached the first round by qualifying outright, but suffered the same fate once she got there.

25 Level

It was a very good week for Aidan McHugh at the ITF25 event in Tulsa, Oklahoma. McHugh was seeded third at the event, and fulfilled that seeding to get all the way to the semi-finals before eventually succumbing to the top seeded Australia in straight sets. Jack Pennington Jones was here, too, winning one round before a last 16 exit, while Matthew Summers, despite being seeded fourth in qualifying, couldn’t join his compatriots in the main draw.

There was a strong British contingent at the event in Netanya, Israel, with four Brits entered into qualifying. Max Benaim got the furthest, reaching the final round of qualifying before an agonising exit 10-5 on a match tiebreak in the decisive match. Patrick Foley and Emile Hudd made the second qualifying round, while Alex Zuckerman lost in the first.

Meanwhile, in South Korea, Conor Hegarty lost in the first round of qualifying, too.

15 Level

A plethora of Brits in action in Tunisia this week at the continuing ITF15 events in Monastir. Two men qualified for the main draw, joining Hamish Stewart who got in on merit via his ranking. Ewen Lumsden, the 23-year-old who has been ranked on the tour before, came through three rounds of qualifying to make the main draw, as did James Connel, a 20-year-old who has never been ranked. That will change, now, though, because Connel won his first round match to reach the last 16 and pick up a single ranking point in the process.

Stewart also won his first-round encounter, adding to his handful of points, but Lumsden couldn’t make that next step. Nicolas Philibert and Luc Koenig lost in the final qualifying round, while Ewan Moore and Peter Alam each won one match in qualifying before being eliminated.

Elsewhere, in Los Angeles, Joshua Goodger lost in the first round, while Joe Tyler, James Beaven, Giacomo Revelli, and Lui Maxted couldn’t make it out of qualifying. In South Bend, Indiana, Oliver Okonkwo fought through qualifying to make the main draw, but couldn’t go any further, while in Serbia, Ali Habib and Elbert Barr were both eliminated in qualifying before wildcard Luka Petrovic was beaten in the first round proper. In China, Mattias Southcombe got all the way to the final qualifying round before losing to opposition from Taiwan, and finally, in the Dominican Republic, John Horoz Garner and Daniel Vishnick both lost in the first qualifying round.

10 Level

A few results to take note of at the lowest level on the senior tour this week. Sarah Tatu was in the qualifying draw in Romania and came through three rounds of qualifying to earn herself entry into the main draw. Her good form continued into the main draw, winning her opening match 6-3 6-1 against a fellow qualifier, before a three-set victory over a local qualifier in the second round followed. She ran into the sixth seed in the quarter-finals, and there her week ended – she lost 7-5 6-1, but picked up two ranking points for her troubles.

Elsewhere in Europe, Eleanor Baglow also came through qualifying and won a match in the main draw in Poland: her first-round opponent was an Italian qualifier, and she breezed past her 6-1 6-3 before running into the sixth seed in the next round. She fought hard, though, losing 7-6(5) 5-7 6-3 in a real marathon clash – the 21-year-old is making some strides on the tour this year, having made the main draw in five consecutive competitions.

In Tunisia, Amelia Bissett, who hasn’t played on tour since January 2022, returned to competitive action by reaching the last 16 of the ITF10 in Monastir, alongside Gabia Paskauskas. Bissett came through qualifying after strangely receiving a bye in the second round, rather than the first round, but she certainly didn’t care, especially after winning her first-round match in straight sets to join Paskauskas in the last 16. Both ladies lost in the second round, with Paskauskas retiring from her match, but a good week all-in-all for a returning Brit. Iman Khan was also in qualifying but couldn’t match Bissett’s performances.

Alisha Reayer was out in Argentina at the ITF10, and managed to secure a singles ranking point with a first-round victory. She eventually lost in the last 16 to the second seed from Ecuador, but put up a good fight, losing 6-4 7-6(5) in a close match.

And finally, 20-year-old Grace Piper also made a return to the tour this week in Los Angeles – she hadn’t played since last August, but her return was short-lived, as she lost 6-4 7-5 to the third seeded American in the first round of qualifying.

Junior Tennis

J100 Level

Not a lot of British interest in the upper echelons of junior tennis this week, with many of our most promising juniors given wildcards to senior events or preparing for junior Wimbledon. There was one morsel of interest at the J100 in the Netherlands, but Kyle McKay lost in the first round 6-2 6-2.

J60 Level

There were far more stories of interest at J60 level this week, including a finalist: at the J60 in Greece, Finbar McGarvey was the second seed, and fulfilled his seeding to get all the way to the final, where he played the top seed Andreas Loizas of Greece for the title. It was a real humdinger, with both boys evenly matched, but eventually it went the way of the Greek, 7-6(4) 3-6 6-4, who extended his winning run to 15 matches to win his third straight J60 event. Dan Hughes lost in the first round, while in the Girls’ draw, Tegan Bush reached the semi-finals unseeded, with the highlight coming in the quarter-finals when she knocked out the second seed. Tia Bonita Jakupovic-Kljako, Serena Manca, and Georgiana Mititelu all made the second round.

Elsewhere, Flora Johnson lost in the first round of the J60 in Tunisia, while Siana McDonald suffered a similar fate in Thailand.

J30 Level

Another new name to potentially look out for: Martha Ground, a 13-year-old, reached the quarter-finals of the J30 in Poland this week as a qualifier. Ground has been involved at Tennis Europe U14 level so far this year, reaching a Category 3 quarter-final in Ireland back in February, but this is her first real success at ITF junior level, so congratulations to her! Meanwhile, Ophelia K Davies lost in the first round, while Brooklyn Bamburac made the second round in the Boys’ Singles and Enrico Franchi lost early.

Meanwhile, in New Caledonia, Josh Hinton made the quarter-finals, in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Isabella Gibson made the second round, while Joe Mazingham failed to win a match, and in Bulgaria, Sophie Monks lost in the first round.

LTA British Tour

There was a Grade 2 event on the LTA British Tour this week in Fronton, with plenty of juniors taking part. Juniors Luca Pow and Charlie Robertson contested the final, despite both of them being unseeded – they took out top seed Michael Shaw and third seed Zach Stephens in their respective semi-finals. It was a win for Pow in the end, who secured a 6-0 7-5 victory over his junior rival to clinch the title.

In the Women’s draw, Gabia Paskauskas was the victor, defeating top seed Given Roach in the final 6-2 5-7 6-3. Roach was the beneficiary of a retirement from her semi-final opponent, Ava Williamson, who had done exceptionally well to reach the semis as a qualifier, while Ellie Blackford was the other beaten semi-finalist.