Keeping up with the Brits: 10 January, 2022
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The 2022 tennis season has got off to a flyer for the Brits – two titles on week one, upsets against players in the top-15 and now, all eyes shifting to Melbourne for the Australian Open qualifiers. Here’s your weekly update on all things British tennis.
What happened in British tennis last week?
ATP Melbourne Summer Set
First week and first ATP title of the year for Neal Skupski, teaming up with new partner Welsley Koolhof to win the Melbourne Summer Set title.
The British, Dutch duo came into the event as the favourites and hit their stride in the semi-finals, coming through a potentially tricky match-up against third seeds Marcelo Arevalo and Jean-Julien Rojer, with a 6-2, 6-4 victory.
In the final they met Aleksandr Nedovyesov and Aisam Ul Haq Qureshi who had previously knocked out singles stars Grigor Dimitrov and David Goffin as well as fourth seeds Andrey Golubev and Franco Skugor. However, it was to be Skupski and Koolhof’s day as they clinched their maiden title together in their first event with a 6-4, 6-4 win.
Moving onto women’s doubles and Tara Moore also claimed her first ITF title of the season alongside regular partner Emina Bektas at the W60+H Traralgon. The top seeds eased their way into the final without dropping a set but faced a tough challenge against second seeds Catherine Harrison and Aldila Sutjiadi in the final. The American and Indonesian team got off to a flying start, winning the first set 6-0 – but Moore and Bektas came fighting back. After clinching the second set tie-break, Moore and Bektas sealed the title on their fifth match point for a 0-6, 7-6(1), 10-8 victory.
Despite just missing out on a semi-final place, there were plenty of positives for the British ATP Cup team after they recorded two wins over Germany and the USA last week.
Dan Evans was the standout performer of the week, going unbeaten across five singles and doubles matches, including wins over World No.14 Denis Shapovalov, John Isner and Jan-Lennard Struff.
The British team were narrowly beaten to a spot in the last four by future champions Canada after Felix Auger-Aliassime defeated Cam Norrie and then teamed up with Shapovalov to claim the doubles decider.
Gordon Reid is through to the men's singles semi-finals at the ITF 1 Victorian Open. Reid has won both his opening two matches of 2022 in three sets, including a 7-6(3), 4-6, 6-0 victory over World No.10 Tokito Odato set up a last four meeting with Argentinian second seed Gustavo Fernandez.
After an early women's singles loss to Rio 2016 Paralympic champion Jiske Griffioen of the Netherlands, Lucy Shuker is through to her first final of 2022 in her first tournament of the year. Shuker - partenered with Japan's Manami Tanaka - beat Griffioen and China's Zhenzhen Zhu 6-2, 6-4 to set up a final against Japanese duoYui Kamiji and Shiori Funamizu.
Posts of the week
What’s happening in British tennis this week?
Australian Open qualifying
It’s all systems go in the build up to the Australian Open main draw, starting next week. Qualifying gets underway from Monday as seven Brits compete for their place at the first Grand Slam of 2022.
A couple of the Brits have already played first round matches. 11th seed Harriet Dart beat Federica Di Sarra to set up a clash with Alycia Parks, while Samantha Murray Sharan bowed out to Hailey Baptiste.
Fran Jones – who burst on the scene after qualifying for last year’s event – starts her qualifying campaign against Usue Maitan Arconda on Tuesday. She’s joined by Katie Boulter, Jodie Burrage and Katie Swan who will face Emina Bektas, Seone Mendez and Abbie Myers respectively.
Liam Broady is the lone British male in qualifying this year, entering as the tenth seed. The World No.128, who spent last week as Great Britain’s captain at the ATP Cup, plays 22-year-old Kacper Zuk in the first round.
Emma Raducanu, Dan Evans and Andy Murray are in Sydney this week as they put in their last preparations before heading to Melbourne. Raducanu starts her year with a top 20 clash against ninth seed Elena Rybakina
Third seed Evans has an opening round bye, while Murray plays qualifier Viktor Durasovic to kick-start his campaign.
They are joined by Jamie Murray and Brazilian partner Bruno Soares, who begin their journey towards lifting a second Australian Open title in Sydney. Also in the draw are fellow Brits Jonny O’Mara and Lloyd Glasspool and their partners Fabrice Martin and Harri Heliovaara.
Heather Watson returns to action after qualifying for the WTA 250 event in Adelaide this week. With two wins already under her belt, she now faces a tough challenge against World No.30 Tamara Zidansek.
On the ATP side, Joe Salisbury and Rajeev Ram are the top seeds in the doubles and begin their year against Aaron Addison and Thomas Fancutt in the second round. Neal Skupski and Wesley Koolhof enter as the third seeds and have a first round bye, while Dom Inglot and Ken Skupski lost their opening match.
ATP Challenger Forli
In Italy Jay Clarke, Jack Draper, Paul Jubb and Aidan McHugh are set to compete at the ATP Challenger Forli. Third seed Clarke starts off against Nicolas Mejia after reaching the quarter-finals last week, while Draper opens his account for the season against Roberto Quiroz. Both will also play each other in the first round of the doubles. Jubb's campaign begins against Tung-Lin Wu and McHugh faces seventh seed Kaichi Uchida.
ITF $25K Bath
This week marks the start of the LTA’s 2022 Competitions Calendar for professional players with ITF W25 and M25 Pro-Series events taking place at Bath University.
There are 11 Brits in the main draw of the Men’s Singles and eight Brits in the main draw for the Women's Singles, with more to come through qualifying. Billy Harris, Sarah Beth Grey, Eden Silva and Anton Matusevich are just a handful of the British hopefuls that will be in action from Monday.
Matches from both the W25 and M25 can be live streamed on the ITF website, by clicking here.