British Tennis Round-up: Davis Cup debuts and doubles trophies
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Great Britain’s Davis Cup team and an impressive army of fans travelled to Marbella for the first-round World Group clash against Spain. Led by captain Leon Smith, the team featured Kyle Edmund, Jamie Murray and Dom Inglot, along with Davis Cup debutants Cam Norrie and Liam Broady.
The Brits had just under a week to practice and transition to playing on clay, but were ready for the challenge once Thursday’s draw had been announced.
Broady opened Britain’s campaign on Friday and despite falling 6-3, 6-4, 7-6(6) to world No.21 Albert Ramos-Vinolas, he brought some fantastic tennis to the court.
It was then up to Norrie to put Britain on the scoreboard but after world No.23 Roberto Bautista Agut edged ahead to a two-set lead, it wasn’t looking too bright. However, the British world No.114 proved his resilience and went onto record one of the most impressive Davis Cup wins on debut.
Jamie Murray and Dom Inglot faced Pablo Carreno Busta and Feliciano Lopez in Saturday’s important doubles rubber, but the Spanish team proved too strong and sealed a 6-4, 6-4, 7-6(4) victory to lead 2-1.
The pressure was back on Norrie as he found himself up against Ramos-Vinolas on Sunday. The Spaniard claimed the first set after winning the tiebreak, but Norrie bravely fought back to level the match. The third set was taken to a second tiebreak that went to Ramos-Vinolas and he continued with momentum to win 7-6(4), 2-6, 7-6(4), 6-2.
The result marked a 3-1 victory for Spain and drew the tie to a close, however the Brits will return to action in September for the World Group play-offs and after their gusty performance this weekend, will be looked upon as incredibly strong contenders.
Other Brits in action
Ken and Neal Skupski secured their first trophy of 2018 with victory at an ATP Challenger tournament in Quimper, France. The brothers faced Belgian fourth seeds Sander Gille and Joran Vliegen in the final and won 6-3, 3-6, [10-7]. The achievement marks a new career-high for Neal who moved up to world No.62 in Monday's rankings.
There was also doubles delight for Laura Robson who partnered America’s Vania King to win a $60K ITF tournament in Burnie, Australia. The pair defeated Japanese duo Momoko Kobori and Chihiro Muramatsu 7-6(3), 6-1 in the final.
In Dallas, Joe Salisbury teamed up with India’s Leander Paes to reach the final of an ATP Challenger. The top seeds overcame Americans Austin Krajicek and Jackson Withrow 7-6(3), 6-4, but missed out on the title after falling to Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan and Christopher Rungkat in a tight three-setter.
Emily Webley-Smith partnered Poland’s Katarzyna in Sharm El Sheikh to win an ITF Pro Circuit tournament. They faced Laura-Iona Andrei and Helene Scholsen in the final and produced a battling 6-3, 3-6, [10-5] victory.
Finally, the qualifying rounds for the 14&U Winter Cups took place in Germany and Ukraine, where Britain’s boys and girls teams were in action. Following a round-robin format, both finished in the top two teams of their respective groups to reach the final rounds of the event.
Led by Katie O’Brien, the girls team of Andrea Pineda, Matilda Mutavzdic and Eva Shaw beat Georgia and Belgium and Sweden, so will be seeded going into the finals.
Richard Plews’ boys team of Sam Reeve, Patrick Brady and Yujiro Onuma defeated Ireland and Germany, but missed out on a seeded spot after falling to Belgium.
The results mean that Britain’s 14&U Winter Cup teams join the 12&U teams in the finals after their success the previous weekend. The 12&U finals are set to take place later this week, February 9 -11. The girls team will be in action on home soil at Sunderland Tennis Centre. The finals are free to attend and are a great opportunity to watch some of the best 12&U girls in the world compete in singles and doubles over three days of team competition. Play begins at 9:30am each day.
The 12&U boys are set to play their finals in Veska, the Czech Republic. Discover a full breakdown of draws and results.
Britain's 14&U teams will compete in their respective finals the following weekend. Discover a full breakdown of draws and results.
On home soil
In Glasgow, Scotstoun Leisure Centre played host to the first GB Pro-Series tournament of the year. Hot on the heels of winning the British Tour Stirling last weekend, Maia Lumsden enjoyed an impressive run to the final after accepting a wild card. The 20-year-old faced Spain’s Paula Badosa Gilbert for the title, but fell short in three sets.
Marcus Willis and Neil Pauffley also finished finalists in the men’s doubles after defeating Jacob Fearnley and Connor Thomson in an all-British semi-final. They put up a strong fight in the final but fell in a tight three-setter to Matthias Haim and Jakob Sude.
The GB Pro-Series represents both men’s and women’s events that are part of the ITF Pro Circuit taking place in Great Britain.
Meanwhile in London, the National Tennis Centre welcomed the Winter National Tour Finals for British players aged 18 and under. Buckinghamshire’s Isabelle Marshall won the girls' event, while it was a repeat of last year’s 16U Finals for Kai Maxted from Buckinghamshire who was crowned the boys' champion.
Photo of the week
Jamie Murray and Dom Inglot battled against Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta and Feliciano Lopez on Marbella’s sun-soaked clay court.
Tweet of the week
Liam Broady summed up his Davis Cup experience in a few words…