Our weekly feature, Brits of the Week, assesses the three most impactful British players from the week just gone, in the opinion of our correspondent Sam Barker.
Unfortunately, Sam Barker is on holiday this week. Talk about slacking off. That does mean that instead, you’ve got my opinions on the week gone by in the British Tennis world for once. And now, I guess I truly understand Sam’s pain when having to make these decisions week-in, week-out. But without further ado, here we go!
#3 – Ryan Storrie – Trofeo Juan Carlos Ferrero (G1): Semi-Finalist
My personal third-place award goes to the ever-improving Ryan Storrie, who is really excelling in his final year of eligibility for the ITF Junior tour.
The 18-year-old seems to excel at the bigger tournaments, having failed to go further than the quarter-finals at any of the three Grade 2 events he’s entered, but having reached two Grade 1 quarter-finals and picking up on title in Umag last month going into this week’s Grade 1 event in Spain.
Again, Storrie impressed, reaching the semi-finals this week before losing to Spaniard Fokina, although will feel slightly fortuitous that he avoided any seeded players throughout the competition.
The result this week takes Storrie into the top 30, which will all but guarantee him a seeding at the Junior French Open in June, an event he must feel confident of doing well at, given his excellent results on clay so far this year. Well done Ryan on another stellar week.
Antalya 10K QF: @emilyarbuthnott convincingly beat a seed for the 2nd day in a row, KOing 7th seed Vivien Juhászová SVK WR 498 (=CH) 1&2 🙂
— Steven (@GBtennis) April 8, 2016
#2 – Emily Arbuthnott – ITF Futures $10k, Antalya, Turkey – Semi-Finalist
Despite having already been accepted into Stanford University for the coming academic year, multi-talented 18-year-old Emily Arbuthnott is hardly resting on her laurels, and gave a very good account of herself at the Futures event in Turkey this week, reaching the semi-finals.
The Tennis Smart athlete with a stellar academic record defeated the third seed and the seventh seed before finally meeting her match against the second seed in the semi-finals, securing some excellent, dominant victories in the process.
A 6-2 6-3 victory over third seed and world #405 Anastasiya Vasylyeva gave Arbuthnott her year-high rankings scalp, while a 6-1 6-2 battering off Slovakian seventh seed Vivien Juhaszova of Slovakia, another player ranked well above the young Brit, proved that there is clearly more to come in the future from this talented youngster.
We hope to see Arbuthnott succeeding in many more tournaments before her focus shifts to US College in the autumn.
Just heard the amazing news @ManishaFoster what a huge win! Coach Rooney is very proud today. See u when u get back congratulations xxx
— Catherine Rooney (@MrsCRooney) April 10, 2016
#1 – Manisha Foster – ITF Futures $10k, Sharm El-Sheikh Egypt: Champion
There could only really be one winner this week. Marvellous Manisha picked up her maiden ITF title in Egypt this week after a magnificent run of victories which surprised, well, everybody.
The Brit has been lingering outside the top 1000 ever since a niggling injury kept her out of regular action for most of last year. Having reached a career high of #635 at the end of the 2014, there’s clearly potential for Foster to push on, especially given her relatively young age of 22. However, the Brit had only once shown glimpses of this potential before this week, having picked up a solitary rankings point after defeating Swiss Tess Sugnaux in the first round of the Glasgow ITF in February. Since then, she had failed to come through two $10k qualifying draws and then lost in the first round of a further three.
Then, somehow, everything changed. Foster gained a huge confidence boost with a 6-1 6-4 demolition of the top seed Margarita Lazareva in the first round in Egypt this week, and the rest, as they say, is history. The fifth seed was dispatched in the quarter-finals, and, after defeating a Russian qualifier to book her spot in the final, Foster put the cherry on top of a marvellous week with a straight sets victory over the Ukrainian third seed. Quite an astonishing week for a player who had otherwise remained fairly anonymous throughout the first quarter of the tennis year.
The Brit will now be well inside the top 800 with this title win, and life on the $10k tour should be a lot easier in terms of gaining direct entries into events. We’re excited to see how Manisha will push on from here, and would like to wish her a huge, hearty congratulations on a huge step in the right direction.
GB's Katie Swan signs off junior tennis with a suitably dramatic match, 6-4 6-7 7-6 loss to Russia's Blinkova in ITF Junior Masters final.
— Piers Newbery (@piersnewbery) April 10, 2016
Just Missed Out
Harriet Dart: The sixth seed alongside Arbuthnott in Turkey made the quarter-finals, as well as picking up the Doubles title with her Bulgarian partner. Dart’s form is really starting to pick up after a tough start to the year.
Katie Swan: The 17-year-old is transitioning well onto the senior tour, but it was her performance at the ITF Junior Masters that caught the eye this week: the top seeded Brit made the final before narrowly losing to Russian Anna Blinkova.
Jonny O’Mara: It’s not been a particularly easy year for Jonny O’Mara so far, but the 21-year-old Scot picked up a couple of decent victories in Greece this week, including beating fifth seed Adrian Sikora in straight sets to reach the quarter-finals.
What do you think of this week’s selection? Did Foster surprise you as much as she did everyone else? Did we miss anyone off? And would you much rather have Sam Barker making these selections because you’re quite frankly tired of my journalism? Vote now: