Six Brits in the final of the LTA Loughborough pro-series event
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The second event of the new LTA Performance Competition Calendar at Loughborough University concluded over the weekend with six Brits in finals action across the W25 and M25 ITF World Tennis Tour events.
In the men’s singles draw, with seven of eight places in the quarterfinals occupied by Brits, the final was contested by the tournament’s top ranked players: top seed Ryan Peniston (Essex) and No.2 seed Antoine Escoffier (France). The underdog took the first set, before Peniston battled back to take the second set but couldn’t hold off Escoffier in the decider to claim the title 64 36 63.
Earlier No.4 seed Aidan McHugh (Glasgow), who is on the LTA’s Pro Scholarship Programme – the highest level of support for players aged 16-24 defeated the recent Bath singles champion Daniel Cox (Lincolnshire) in a three-set thriller enroute to reaching the semis, where he fell to Peniston.
Peniston was too strong for McHugh in the opening semi-final on Saturday afternoon, winning in straight sets 62 61.
In the other half of the men’s draw, unseeded Brit Jan Choinski caused an upset over the No.3 seed Paul Jubb (Yorkshire), wining 64 57 63 to secure his place in the semi-final against Escoffier. Unfortunately, luck ran out for Choinski, who was forced to retire against the French No.2 seed trailing 64 31.
No.7 seeded Brit Sarah Beth Grey was the only Brit to make the quarter final stage of the women’s singles. Grey (Lancashire) came up against the top seeded Mariam Bolkvade from Georgia in the last eight where Bolkvade won a titanic struggle 64 46 76(2) lasting 3 hours 31 minutes to reach the last four.
Sunday’s women’s singles final saw Bolkvadze play 21 year-old qualifier Sofia Nami Samavati from Denmark, with the Georgian forced to retire trailing 62 55. Samavati won her third singles title in the last five months and first at W25 level.
In the women’s doubles, fourth seeds Emily Appleton (Surrey) & Ali Collins (North Scotland) reached the final but lost out to Anna Gabric / Gabriela Vasilescu 64 75.
There were three Brits featured in the men’s doubles final, with Julian Cash (Sussex) emerging victorious with his German partner Lucas Gerch over British pair Anton Matusevich (Kent) and Joshua Paris (Middlesex) 64 63.
LTA Tournament Director Richard Joyner reflected on a successful event: “We had a great week of tennis at Loughborough culminating in two very high-quality singles finals. We were delighted to return to staging these events in Britain after nearly two years of Covid disruptions.”
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Events such as the Loughborough W25 and M25 are all about providing British players with the chance to develop on home soil through more meaningful playing opportunities, giving all players the widest possible number of competitive matches on the ITF World Tennis Tour.