Lancashire Times
Weekend Edition
Mark Gregory
5:19 PM 20th February 2023

British Tennis Watch – Week 7

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 7 – 13–19 February 2023

In this week’s edition:

Cam Norrie beaten in ATP 250 Final in South America
Heather Watson reaches a final on home soil
Two Junior Champions in Slovakia

ATP/WTA Main Tour

500 Level

There was only one Brit in action at the WTA 500 event in Doha, Qatar, this week. Harriet Dart was in qualifying for the main draw, and got past her first qualifying round opponent in straight sets before running into Czech Karolina Pliskova, ranked 20th in the world. The British world number 108 was no match for the former world number one, and lost 6-1 6-2.

250 Level

It was an excellent week for Cameron Norrie over in Argentina as he began the South American clay-court swing in earnest. Norrie was seeded second at the ATP 250 event, and earned a bye through the first round before edging past local wildcard Facundo Diaz Acosta in a deciding set tiebreak in the second round. Norrie came up against another Argentinian in the quarter-finals, and again dropped the opening set before surging back, reaching the semi-finals with a 5-7 6-0 6-3 victory.

Peruvian qualifier Juan Pablo Varillas was dispatched in straight sets in the semis before a somewhat sterner test emerged in the final – world number two and arguably the biggest prospect in Men’s tennis since Rafael Nadal, Carlos Alcaraz. Norrie battled hard in the final but was ultimately overpowered by the Spaniard, and Norrie went down 6-3 7-5.

Norrie may have a chance to seek revenge next week, as both he and Alcaraz are once again the top two seeds at the ATP 500 in Rio de Janeiro, so they may well be on another collision course in the final if they both keep up their good form.

ATP Challenger Tour / WTA/ITF Futures Tour

100 Level

Jay Clarke and Ryan Peniston were once again in action at Challenger level, this week over in India at the CH100 in Chennai. After Ryan got the better of Jay in the first round in Tenerife last week, finally it was Jay’s turn to have a decent week, although both men suffered the same fate – defeat to Indian local favourite Suit Nagal, albeit in different rounds.

Peniston, the fourth seed at the event, fell to the Indian 6-4 6-4 in the first round, but Clarke managed a decent run to the quarter-finals – his best result this year so far, which included a hard-fought three-set victory over eighth seed Dimitar Kuzmanov of Bulgaria. But Clarke ran into Nagal as well in the quarter-finals, and he, too, was dispatched in straight sets, 6-1 6-4.

90 Level

Three men were in action at the CH90 in Cherbourg, France this week. Charles Broom and Stuart Parker both entered qualifying, but were unfortunately eliminated in the first qualifying round. That left Jan Choinski flying the British flag in France, and he did a good job – despite being unseeded, he marched all the way to the semi-finals, defeating fourth seed Hugo Grenier in the process, before eventually coming unstuck against Italian sixth seed Guilio Zeppieri, 6-4 3-6 6-3. It’s a nice collection of points for Jan, though, which will see him hit a new career-high ranking of 225 this week. Nice job!

80 Level

Three British women tried their hand at the ITF80 event in Altenkirchen, Germany this week, but the result was somewhat underwhelming from a British perspective, with Emily Appleton having the stand-out week among the three. Appleton came through qualifying to reach the main draw, but couldn’t progress any further, losing 6-3 6-4 to Denmark’s Clara Tauson, ranked over 300 places above her. Freya Christie was also in qualifying but lost in the first round, while Yuriko Miyazaki was seeded eighth in the main draw but couldn’t get past her German opponent, losing in three sets to end her Singles’ week prematurely.

50 Level

There was a home event only for the Women this week in Glasgow, where some familiar names were in action. The best performance from a British perspective came from former British number one Heather Watson, who had dropped down from WTA 250 level in China a couple weeks ago to try to pick up some form on home soil. And she did exactly that, reaching the final as the top seed before eventually succumbing 3-6 6-4 6-1 to Belgian Marie Benoit in the championship match.

There were, of course, other British ladies in Glasgow – Sonay Kartal, 21, was the second seed in the tournament, and raced to the semi-finals before she, too, was beaten by eventual champion Benoit. There were also wildcards handed out to Maia Lumsden and Eliz Maloney, both of whom made the most of this generosity by winning their first round matches before losing in the last 16. Talia Nelson Gatenby was the only British qualifier; she ended up losing in the first round alongside Eden Silva, Anna Brogan, and 17-year-old wildcard Ella McDonald.

25 Level

Without a Men’s home event, players had to make do with events abroad this week. Billy Harris made the quarter-finals at the ITF25 in Portugal, eventually losing to Portuguese qualifier and eventual champion Henrique Rocha, who at 18 seems to be a real prospect. Fellow Brit Patrick Foley missed out on the main draw after being eliminated in qualifying.

Meanwhile, at the ITF25 in Tunisia, all three British Men failed to win a match in qualifying: Ruari McLennan, Maceo Simpson, and Nicolas Philibert.

15 Level

Not a whole lot to write home about at the lowest level of Men’s Senior tennis this week – three eliminations from qualifying at the ITF15 in Germany this week, with Ben Jones reaching the final qualifying round but Joshua Goodger and Joe Tyler losing at an earlier stage. In Egypt, Louis Bowden lost in the second qualifying round, while Elbert Barr couldn’t get past the first qualifying round in Tunisia.

10 Level

Four British girls failed to make it out of qualifying for the ITF10 event in Manacor, Spain – Alisha Reayer won her first match but lost her second, while Niamh Campbell, Sarah Tatu, and Aryana Bartlett all lost in the first qualifying round.

Junior Tennis

J300 Level

Oliver Bonding was the only Brit to stick around in South America for the start of the junior clay swing out there, but he was unable to replicate his success from last week, losing in the opening round to American qualifier Adam Bojkovic.

J100 Level


It was two out of two in Boys’ and Girls’ Singles in Trnava, Slovakia this week, as British youngsters clinched both titles in a successful week on the continent. Charlie Robertson backed up his victory at the J100 in Glasgow in January with another title in Slovakia this week, defeating local favourite Michal Krajci 6-1 6-1 in the final. Meanwhile, Hannah Read improved on her two consecutive semi-finals with a title herself in the Girls’ draw, taking out the third, fourth and fifth seed en route to the title, which will see her move from 309th in the junior rankings to 212th in one fell swoop.

There were also decent performances from Henry Jefferson and Hannah Relate, who both made the quarter-finals.

Elsewhere, there was a step up in level in South Africa this week after last week’s J60 – and there was still plenty of British interest and success in the Southern Hemisphere. Max Castle was seeded seventh in the Boys’ Singles, and reached the semi-finals before eventually losing in straight sets to American Joseph Oyebog Jr. Thomas Aston, 17, also made the quarter-finals in his first ITF Junior tournament of the year.

In the Girls’ Singles, Marelie Raath was the top seed but only made the quarter-finals after retiring in the final set of her match against South African Erin McKenzie, while Serena Manca made the last 16.

J60 Level

There were solitary wins for Finbar McGarvey in Denmark and Athena Schlepphorst in Guatemala, but otherwise, nothing else to report at this level.

J30 Level

There was another J30 event in Liverpool this week, and it was another all British final in the Boys’ Singles this week, and the Girls did just as well, too, producing two finalists and, subsequently, a British champion.

Conor Flynn was the title winner for Boys this week. Flynn reached the quarter-finals in Liverpool last week, and built on that to clinch the title over Jakob Bonnett – who once again impressed – in the final. The Boys’ semi-finals were an all-British affair, with top seed Ilias Hirani Worthington and qualifier Luke Hoyland the losers. Dylan Davies was the other Brit who reached at least the quarter-finals.

In the Girls’ final, Maria Ustic defeated Jacquelyn Ogunwale to clinch the title. It’s Ustic’s second tournament of the year, having been knocked out of the J100 in Glasgow in the first round back in January. Gunwale, meanwhile, made the semis last week, so has enjoyed a productive two weeks in the North West. Sarah Copley and Tia Bonita Jakupovic-Klajko were the losing British semi-finalists, while the quarter-finals were also an all-British affair, with Amanda Widdowson, Isabella Walker, Brooke Black, and Louise Booker losing out to their British opponents.

A couple of British Girls shone in Dublin this week, as well, particularly Elizabeth Evans, who reached the final before coming unstuck against Luxembourg’s Laura Palumbo. 14-year-old Annabel Hristova also made the semi-finals before losing to eventual champion Palumbo. Tegan Bush made the quarters.

In the Boys’ draw there was less success, with Robin McAlpine, Henry Best and Matthew Upton all emerging from qualifying and winning their opening round match before losing in the last 16.

LTA British Tour

Gosling Tennis Centre, near Welwyn Garden City, hosted a Grade 2 British Tour event this week ahead of next week’s UK Pro League event. In the Men’s draw, Stefan Cooper defeated Benjamin Gusic-Wan in the final. We last saw Cooper making it through qualifying for the ITF15 event in Oklahoma in January; it would have been nice to get a string of wins under his belt for the 26-year-old. In the Women’s draw, the top two seeds went head-to-head in the final, with top seed Given Roach defeating Ciara Moore in straight sets. Roach, 17, was in Colombia and Ecuador with the rest of the British contingent at the high-level junior tournaments recently, but failed to register a win there, so she’ll also be happy at having the chance to play herself back into form.