British Tennis Round-up: Futures, British Tour and University success
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Andrew Walker and Ryan Peniston triumphed at the Qatar F4 Futures – a $15K Futures tournament. The pair sailed past Dutch duo Guy Den Heijer and Sidane Pontjodikromo 6-1, 6-2 in the semi-finals to set up an all-British clash against fourth seeds Richard Gabb and Luke Johnson.
Gabb and Johnson had defeated Tuna Altuna and Markus Eriksson 6-3, 6-3 in their semi-final and were playing for their third Futures title of the year.
Walker and Peniston started strong to take the opening set and maintained their form to come out on top in the tiebreaker and claim a 6-3, 7-6(4) victory. The achievement marked a maiden pro title for both players and puts them in great stead for the 2018 season.
Back on British soil at Loughborough University, Nell Miller and Sean Hodkin were crowned champions of the 2017 Aegon British Tour Masters.
The competition is a year-end finale of the Aegon British Tour circuit which is essentially made up of a number of tournaments held throughout the year. These are designed to give up and coming British players the opportunity to gain experience as they look to become professional tennis players.
With qualification for the Masters based on year-end leaderboard positions, Miller only moved into the draw after a withdrawal on the eve of the tournament.
However, the 17-year-old from Bromley made full use of the opportunity and reached the final without dropping a single set, including an impressive 6-1, 6-3 semi-final victory over top seed Louise Holtum. She went on to face second seed Victoria Allen in the final, who had also maintained a straight sets record on her journey to the final.
Playing in front of a crowd of nearly 100 spectators, 16-year old Allen got off to the quicker start and established an early 3-0 lead, before Miller turned the tables to claim an impressive 7-5, 6-0 win. Upon her success, Nell said:
Meanwhile in the men’s event, Sean Hodkin became the first player to qualify by topping the leaderboard with over 32,000 points – a feat that meant he had secured nearly 10,000 points ahead of his nearest rival.
The 19-year-old from Lincolnshire justified his billing as top seed by reaching Saturday’s final and faced an unseeded Ben Jones in the final, who had caused a semi-final upset by defeating second seed Rob Carter 6-4, 6-2.
Both players were equally matched in a close opening set, however Hodkin had the edge and eventually sealed a 6-4, 6-1 victory.
Like Miller, he looks to use his prize money for career progression and is set to return to the British Tour at the end of December.
Loughborough will next host the British Tour from 2-7 January for a Premier Tier event, which in 2017 saw Liam Broady and Freya Christie capture the titles.
Great Britain's University Tennis Team achieved an epic milestone last weekend by winning their first ever gold medal at the prestigious Master’U BNP Paribas Tournament in France – the world’s biggest annual university tennis team event.
The competition follows a Fed Cup / Davis Cup format and consists of two men’s and two women’s singles matches, two men’s and two ladies’ doubles matches, and one mixed doubles match should a decider need to be played.
Headed by Tennis Foundation's University Manger Alistair Higham, the British team of Jonny O’Mara, Maia Lumsden, Scott Duncan, Jack Findel-Hawkins, Emma Hurst and Pippa Horn defeated China 7-0 in the semi-finals and went on to face long-standing champions the United States in the final. The defending champions had won the competition six years in a row and were playing for their eighth title in the last nine years, but the Brits remained unfazed and pulled together to clinch an epic 4-2 win.
Discover more with the Tennis Foundation's report.