It was a familiar story at this week’s AEGON British Tour Tier 1 event in Edgbaston, with last week’s winners Jay Clarke and Beth Askew once again picking up the titles after generally dominating their respective draws.
In the Men’s draw, all four quarter-finals saw some great quality tennis as well as some interesting match-ups – and results. In the top half, top seed Jamie Whiteford, the favourite to win the event, was taken down in straight sets by the in-form Jay Clarke, seeded sixth. The 17-year-old has played two junior and two senior events on the ITF tour so far this year with not much joy, but his form at national level has been excellent – and a 7-5 6-3 victory over Whiteford will be one to savour. Brother Curtis was unable to set up an all-Clarke semi-final after somewhat surprisingly losing out to qualifier Sean Hodkin. In the only really one-sided result from the quarter-finals onwards, Clarke defeated Hodkin 6-2 6-0 to reach the final.
In the bottom half, young Jake Hersey gave ATP-Ranked Mason Recci a real run for his money, with the youngster picking up the second set before Recci edged ahead, eventually winning 5-7 6-3 6-3. As expected, he went on to face eighth seed Joshua Sapwell in the semi-final, after the 19-year-old took out second seed Adam Thornton-Brown in another three-set thriller, winning 6-3 2-6 6-4. In the semi, Mason Recci booked his place in the final with a straight sets victory over the tiring Sapwell, 7-5 6-3.
The final was a relatively straightforward affair, with Clarke taking both sets by a narrow margin 6-4 6-3 to secure his second title in as many weeks.
In the Women’s draw, two retirements helped the expected foursome reach the semi-finals: unseeded Holly Hutchinson, who had taken out top seed Lucy Brown in the first round, was a break up against fifth seed Eva Siska in the first set before the American was forced out of the match, while Ellie-Rose Griffiths only needed to play three games before her opponent, seventh seed Yasmin Clarke, retired. The unseeded pair met in the semi-finals, with Hutchinson defeating Griffiths 6-3 6-2 to reach the final.
The two ladies with the highest Universal Tennis Ratings met in the second semi-final after both recorded 6-1 6-2 victories over their respective quarter-final opponents: Manisha Foster over Laura Sainsbury, and Beth Askew over wildcard Chloe Hughes. Foster, the third seed, and Askew, the second seed, fought out a tight semi-final clash, with Askew just emerging victorious 6-2 4-6 6-4.
In the final, Askew shaded two sets 7-5 7-5 to join Clarke in the consecutive titles paddock and deny Hutchinson the cherry on top of an excellent unseeded run.