British Tennis Watch – Week 29
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 email@example.com
Week 29 – 17–23 July 2023
In this week’s edition:
Aidan McHugh wins an ITF25 in the States.
Dan Cox makes the final of the home event in Roehampton.
Liam Broady takes part in the final tour-level grass event of the year in Newport.
ATP/WTA Main Tour
There were a couple of grass tournaments still available to players before the long hard-court season, which will culminate in the US Open, fully kicks off. One of these tournaments was an ATP 250 in Newport, Rhode Island, and Liam Broady, after his excellent run to the third round of Wimbledon, was the only Brit in action across the pond. Broady won his opening match but ran into Australian seventh seed Jordan Thompson in the second round, and was soundly beaten 6-2 6-2, despite having won both of their previous two encounters.
On the women’s side, there was a WTA 250 event in Budapest on clay which Freya Christie got involved in, but she was eliminated in the first qualifying round.
ATP Challenger Tour / WTA/ITF Futures Tour
Jodie Burrage continued her decent run of form this week at the WTA140 in Spain, where she was the top seed. She only reached the quarter-finals despite being ranked higher than everyone else in the draw, but was able to beat fellow Brit, qualifier Emilie Lindh, 6-1 6-3 in the first round, before eventually bowing out to seventh seed Zhuoxuan Bai of China in the quarters.
Clay-court challengers were back on the agenda for German-turned-Brit Jan Choinski this week. Choinski is far more suited to playing on clay despite his efforts at Wimbledon, and the Brit was seeded third at the CH75 in The Netherlands, although turned out a somewhat disappointing performance. Despite a straight-sets win in the first round, Choinski fell 6-2 7-6(5) in the second round to Dutch wildcard Alec Deckers, mustering up just one breakpoint during the entire match, and failing to take it.
Elsewhere, Ryan Peniston is back on hard courts in Spain again this week, and had a match point opportunity against Juan Pablo Ficovich in his first-round match in Pozoblanco, but failed to take it an eventually went down 3-6 7-6(0) 6-3 after a second-set collapse in the tiebreak.
Yuriko Miyazaki was seeded at the WTA70 event in Porto this week, but after enjoying a bye through the first round, she lost to Petra Hole of Australia in the second round.
The women were treated to a home tournament this week in Roehampton, where the men were also playing (see below.) There were 50 points on offer for the winning player, but unfortunately there wasn’t a British champion – although Amarni Banks will have been pleased to be the last British lady standing as she surged all the way to the semi-finals, despite being unseeded.
Banks beat qualifier Alice Gillan in the quarters, where Katy Dunne and eighth seed Anna Brogan also fell, while there were also first-round victories for young wildcards Ella McDonald and Ranah Stoiber, who continue their transition into the senior tour.
Despite seven out of the eight quarter-finalists at the ITF25 event in Roehampton being British, it was a rogue Aussie who triumphed ahead of the British posse this week, meaning neither the men nor the women could muster a home-grown champion at an event on home soil this week.
The beaten finalist was veteran Dan Cox, the fifth seed, who lost 6-4 1-6 6-1 to the second seed Luke Saville in the final. Cox had beaten higher-ranked Brits Charles Broom and Billy Harris in the semis and quarters respectively, while Johannus Monday was the other beaten semi-finalist, and Millen Hurrion, Ryan Storrie, and Mark Whitehouse also all reached the quarter-finals.
There was, however, a British winner this week, but not at home: Aidan McHugh entered the ITF25 in Champaign, Illinois as the second seed, and dropped just one set en route to a brilliant title run, which culminated in a 6-4 6-3 victory over fifth seed Cannon Kingsley in the final. McHugh faced just two breakpoints during the entire match, won 93% of first serve points, and extended his winning record against Kingsley to 6-0. Oliver Okonkwo, meanwhile, couldn’t quite get out of qualifying.
Elsewhere, it wasn’t a great week for our lads in Spain – Anthony Wright was beaten 10-8 in a match tiebreak in his first qualifying match, while Felix Gill failed to convert eight (yes, eight!) match points in the second set of his first-round match, before eventually losing the set on a tiebreak and understandably collapsing in the decider, going down 6-7(5) 7-6(5) 6-0.
Meanwhile, in Castelo Branco, Portugal, Peter Alam emerged from the qualifying draw to join wildcard Felix Mischker in the main draw. Neither player was able to go any further though, while Miles Groom and Ying Hou were both beaten in qualifying.
Finally, Mattias Southcombe picked up a ranking point this week in China after he qualified for the main draw and got lucky with his matchup, facing a fellow qualifier in the first round. Southcombe squeezed past his Chinese opponent 7-5 7-6(3), before a brave yet ultimately unsuccessful effort against the Chinese sixth seed in the second round.
In France, Matilda Mutavdzic was the fourth seed and made a decent run to the quarter-finals, picking up two ranking points in the process. Georgina Hays couldn’t join her in the main draw after defeat in the final qualifying round.
And in Tunisia, Abigail Amos braved the heat to attempt to qualify for the ITF10 in Monastir, but lost 4-6 6-0 6-2, surrendering all eight break points that she faced throughout the match.
The 2023 European Championships took place this week, with the U18 event being classified as a J300 event on the ITF junior tour, and taking place on the clay in Klosters, Switzerland. There was a quick change of surface for most of our youngsters in action, but Viktor Frydrych, who had a decent run at junior Wimbledon, reached the last 16 in the Boys’ event before losing to Ukrainian Andrei Zimnokh 6-4 6-1, while Charlie Robertson fell in the second round after a bye through the first.
In the Girls’ event, Imogen Haddad won one match to reach the second round where she ran into the seventh seed, while Hannah Read came up against Austrian twelfth seed Tamara Kostic and couldn’t find a way past.
It was an excellent week for Allegra K Davies in the Dominican Republic this week, as she reached the semi-finals of the J100 Girls’ event to pick up a handful of useful junior ranking points. Her eventual bane was top seeded American Shannon Lam, so no embarrassment from losing to her. Flora Johnson and Heidi Crncan lost in the first round, while in the Boys’ draw, Marcus Weeks won one match before losing in the second round.
It was somewhat of a wipeout at the J60 event in The Netherlands this week, with only one victory coming from six main draw Brits – Dan Hughes came through qualifying to win his first round match, but Charlie Swaine, Luke Hooper, Isabella Wong, Amelia Widdowson and Macy Denney-Richards all fell at the first hurdle.
Meanwhile, in Armenia, Aryan Jit Singh lost in the third round, while Emilia Julin lost in the second round of the J60 event in Kenya.
Only one event with British interest this week at J30 level, and that was in Turkey, where Freya Peet reached the semi-finals unseeded before losing out to the top seed. Henry Best successfully qualified for the main draw and reached the second round, while Isabella Moss did the same, but lost in the first round.
The European Championships at U14 Level were part of the Tennis Europe tour, and the familiar young faces were in action across both gendered draws. Mark Ceban was the top seed but couldn’t replicate his triumphs from Wimbledon the previous week: he reached the quarter-finals before losing to Tomas Krejci of the Czech Republic. Rhys Lawlor was the seventh seed in the Boys’ draw but lost his opening match.
Meanwhile, in the Girls’ event, both Hollie Smart and Edie Griffiths were beaten at the first available opportunity, despite being the third and tenth seeds respectively. Both young ladies went down in three tight sets in a highly competitive draw.
There was a Grade 2 British Tour event this week up in Scotland, succinctly titled “LTA British Tour Scottish Grass Court Championships sponsored by Kayfoam.” There were some ATP-ranked players in the Men’s draw, with Ewan Moore the top seed and Marcus Walters the second seed. But it was Ewen Lumsden who triumphed in the Men’s draw, the Scottish third seed defeating seventh seed Jed Alexander in the final, with Moore and Walters the beaten semi-finalists.
In the Women’s draw, Francesca Simpson defeated Tia Bonita Jakupovic-Klajko – who won the Grade 1 event last week – in the final, with Amelie Brooks and Alice Brook (no relation) the beaten semi-finalists.