#ACE Magazine: A snapshot of the best British moments from 2018

20/12/2018

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Great Brits - #ACE Magazine

2018 has been another special year for the Brits. To celebrate their achievements, #ACE Magazine chooses some of its favourite moments to showcase a snapshot of this season’s highlights… 

Kyle Edmund

This was the year when Kyle went from being a very, very good tennis player to a contender. It started, of course, with that incredible run to the semi-finals of the Australian Open which began with a five-set win over 11th seed Kevin Anderson and progressed via victories over Denis Istomin, Nikoloz Basilashvili, Andreas Seppi and third seed Grigor Dimitrov, before the 23-year-old fell to an in-form Marin Cilic.

At the Shanghai Masters in October, Edmund saw off three dangerous Top 50 players before losing in the quarter-finals to Sasha Zverev in two tight sets. Then just after, he claimed his first ATP Tour title in Antwerp. Back in April he had reached his first final, in Marrakesh, but he had lost to an inspired Pablo Andujar. This time he battled past Gael Monfils for a famous title triumph.

In May, Kyle had also won his first ATP Tour doubles title, playing with fellow Brit Cameron Norrie. The pair won all four of their matches in straight sets on the clay at Estoril, Portugal.

Cameron has also enjoyed a significant season which has seen him secure his first singles win over a Top 10 player when he beat John Isner at the Lyon Open en route to his maiden ATP semi-final, and record impressive wins over Top 20 players Nick Kyrgios (Atlanta Open) and Borna Coric (Shenzhen Open). In February, he won the nation’s heart as he made a famous Davis Cup debut by defeating Roberto Bautista Agut from two sets down – the Spaniard was ranked 91 places above him.

Kyle will start 2019 as the 14th-ranked player in the world alongside being British No.1, and will be looking to build on last year’s success.

Katie Boulter

At Wimbledon in 2017 Katie was still not on a full training programme in between tournaments, following her illness-enforced absence from the Tour in 2016, but all the signs were there that she had the game to break into the main WTA Tour.

And 2018 has proved those signs were right. In April she won the $25,000 ITF Pro Circuit title in Obidos, Portugal, her fourth but biggest to date. And a month later, in May, she topped that by winning the $60,000 event in Fukuoka, Japan.

During the grass-court season, Katie scored a fine win over former Grand Slam winner Sam Stosur at Nottingham to reach her first ever WTA quarter-final. She didn’t stop there, either, reaching the final in Southsea before losing in three close sets to Kirsten Flipkens. She hit more milestones at Wimbledon, where she recorded her first ever Grand Slam win by defeating Veronica Cepede Royg in the first round.

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Feeeels right now 🙈😄First main draw slam win 💃🏼

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Katie also played well at the Tianjin Open in China, beating Top 50 player Maria Sakkari before losing in three sets to former world No.1 Karolina Pliskova in the quarter-finals.

Katie’s performances this year lifted her inside the world’s Top 100, finishing the year in 97th place, which will guarantee her direct entry into the Australian Open in January. Her career-high ranking of 92 in October briefly saw Katie elevated to second-highest ranked British woman player, though she was just behind Heather Watson in the year-end rankings.

Finally, she made her Fed Cup debut in February during the Europe / Africa Zone Group I tie, playing two doubles rubbers and winning them both.  

Jamie Murray

Jamie has had another great year alongside Brazilian partner Bruno Soares, winning three ATP Tour titles, including their first Masters. First they retained their Acapulco title by beating the Bryan brothers 7-6, 7-5 in the final, then during the grass-court swing they reached the final of the Fever-Tree Championships at The Queen’s Club, before narrowly losing a marathon, 4-hour, 1-minute Wimbledon quarter-final, involving three tie-breaks, to Raven Klaasen and Michael Venus.

At the start of August, Jamie and Bruno won their second ATP Tour title of the year with victory at the Citi Open in Washington. They got revenge over Klaasen and Venus in the semis and went on to beat the pairing of Mike Bryan and Edouard Roger-Vasselin in the final 3-6, 6-3, [10-4].

And later that month they won their first ever Masters 1000 title in Cincinnati, surviving tough matches against three similarly ranked pairs in successive rounds.

Jamie and Bruno almost repeated that impressive feat at the Shanghai Masters, but lost in the final. At November’s Nitto ATP Finals, they were in excellent form to win all three of their group stage matches and reach the semi-finals for the third year running, but lost in match tie-break to eventual champions Mike Bryan and Jack Sock.

Jamie also had yet another fantastic year in mixed doubles, first reaching the Wimbledon final with Victoria Azarenka, then going one better in New York when he won the US Open title with Bethany Mattek-Sands, battling back in the final to capture a 2-6, 6-3, [11-9] victory to mark his fourth career mixed doubles Slam.

Jack Draper

Anyone who watched the Juniors at Wimbledon this year can’t help but have been impressed by 16-year-old Jack and in particular his semi-final win over Columbia’s Nicolas Mejia which produced the surreal scoreline of 7-6, 6-7, 19-17. Played in searing heat, the match produced just three breaks of serve across its 62 games and 4 hours 24 minutes of play.

The final, understandably, was a tough ask, but Jack fought back after losing the first set to push the top seed and world junior No.1 Chun Hsin Tseng all the way before losing 6-1, 6-7, 6-4.

Since Wimbledon, Jack has been concentrating on senior events, playing third-tier Futures tournaments in Belgium and Slovakia (where he reached the semi-final) before returning to the UK and promptly winning in Nottingham and at the National Tennis Centre in Roehampton. Then it was off to Nigeria for two successive weeks; in the first Jack reached the semis before losing to Tom Jomby from France but in the second he won his third Futures title. Most impressivley, Jack faced Jomby again in the final, and despite dropping the opening set, he proved he had learnt from their previous encounter and eventually won 1-6, 6-3, 6-4.

With just six months of full-time open tennis behind him, Jack has already comfortably broken into the world’s Top 500 and sits at 428 in the year-end rankings. He was also shortlisted among nine other junior athletes for the BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year award.

Harriet Dart

Another 22-year-old who has made huge advances this year, winning two $25,000 ITF Pro Circuit events, in Germany and Norway to add to the two smaller tournaments she won back in 2014.  In Germany, Harriet had to win two rounds of qualifying but then produced a series of assured performances in the main draw where she only dropped one set in five matches.

Harriet reached the final in Yokohama in March and several other semi-finals before claiming her second title of the year in her last outing of 2018 at the end of October. On this occasion she had to cope with the pressure of being the second seed, but she was only really troubled in her semi-final, which went to a third set, and in the final she was 6-2, 1-0 up against top seed Paula Badosa Gibert before the Spaniard had to retire.

She gave British fans plenty to cheer about during the grass-court season, kickstarted with a semi-final appearance in Surbiton. Then after receiving a wild card into the Nature Valley International in Eastbourne, she battled past Krystina Pliskova, ranked 103 places higher, to secure her maiden WTA win.

Harriet played singles, doubles and – most notably – mixed at Wimbledon, partnering 20-year-old fellow Brit Jay Clarke all the way to the semi-finals. In their five matches, nine out of the ten players Harriet and Jay faced had previously won either Grand Slam singles, doubles or mixed titles.

2018 was also a notable year for Jay who made his debut to the ATP World Tour when he took a wild card into the Fever-Tree Championships, won his first ATP Challenger in Binghamton, broke into the Top 200 and was named as part of Great Britain’s Davis Cup team in September, to name just a few highlights.

In addition to Harriet’s two singles titles, she also won three doubles titles this year – Istanbul in April, Luan in May and Oslo in October; each with a different partner. To conclude the season, she won both singles and doubles in her final ITF Pro Circuit tournament of the year in Oslo.

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This feature is an extract from the eighth issue of  #ACE Magazine. Dig into more exciting features by signing up or upgrading to British Tennis Team Membership. By becoming a Team Member, you'll also get to take advantage of other exciting benefits including access to a priority window for tickets to the Fever-Tree Championships at The Queen’s Club, and free entry into the British Tennis Members' Wimbledon Ballot. 

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