For the first time since this feature began, two Brits boarded their return flights with an extra piece of hand luggage. Both titles may have come in $10K tournaments, but my word were they delivered in contrasting fashion.
Over in Greece, where British success has been an ongoing occurrence, Freya Christie lived up to her billing as top seed alongside Chanel Simmonds to annihilate the field and take home the trophy. This marked her first doubles title of the year and fourth of her career. The British and South African pair never looked threatened throughout the week. Not only did they not drop a set and dish out three bagels, but they also lost just thirteen games during their title winning run.
— Freya Christie (@Freya_Christie) April 23, 2016
At the other end of the spectrum was Jazzamay Drew who found herself battling through a whirlwind of tense tie-breaks. It took just two weeks to click with Belarussian partner, Iryna Shymanovich as the third seeded pair collected the title this week in Turkey. Unlike Freya though, Jazzamay was made to work every step of the way. Deciding tie breaks were needed in all of her three matches, and the pair also had to recover from going a set down twice, including against the fourth seeds in the final. Practice certainly made perfect though, as their deciding tie-break scores got increasingly better throughout – (10-7, then 10-4, and finally 10-2).
Just the one runner-up this week and it came from one of the most unfairly forgotten women in British tennis, Emily Webley-Smith. Emily is still plugging away out in the Far East and, whilst her singles progress has been largely stagnant, it was pleasing to see some progress on the doubles court. Alongside Russian Ksenia Lykina, the top seeds received a bye through the first round, overcame a tight affair in the quarter-final before cruising comfortable through to the final. Sadly though, the third seeded pair of Chang Liu and Varatchaya Wongteanchai proved too strong in the final, defeating Emily and Ksenia 6-1 6-4.
ATP and Challengers
Jamie Murray was met with a blast from the past in his opening round on Barcelona’s red stuff as he faced ex-partner John Peers. The pair, joined by Bruno Soares and Henri Kontinen respectively, locked horns throughout, each taking a set 6-4 before the Brit eventually emerged victorious, winning 14-12 in the deciding tie-break. Unfortunately, the run in Barcelona came to an abrupt halt in the next round, as the home favourites, Feliciano and Marc Lopez took the victory to knock Jamie out.
Across the other side of Europe, Colin Fleming was also in action in the ATP 250 in Bucharest. The Brit managed to secure a fourth seeding alongside Jonathan Elrich. They battled through a gritty encounter against regular opponents Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi and Robin Haase, splitting tie-breaks before Colin and Jonathan emerged as 10-6 deciding tie-break winners. They then repeated that deciding tie-break scoreline in their next match to advance to the semi-finals. There they were met by on-form Chris Guccione and Andre Sa, who prevented Colin from reaching his second ATP final of the year.
Change of draw here in Estoril means I will play @aisamhqureshi for the 5th time this year. 3 1st rounds in a row! What’s going on here?!!
— Colin Fleming (@colin_fleming) April 24, 2016
The three Brits in challenger action all found themselves seeded but none were able to reach the finals of their respective tournaments. In Torino, Ken and Neal Skupski were back side-by-side and seeded second. They were made to work through their first two encounters, twice scraping through by a two point margin in deciding set-tie breaks. They could not make it a hat-trick though, as third seeds Rameez Junaid and Mateusz Kowalczyk won by a two point margin of their own to reach the final.
Darren Walsh was even less successful at living up to his seeding. However, he can be excused for falling in the quarter-finals considering he found himself up against eventual champions Brian Baker and Ryan Harrison.
It was another quiet and unsuccessful week on the WTA Tour as only Johanna Konta took her racket out of its bag. She paired up with tennis’ new sweetheart, Laura Siegemund and ,despite putting up a brave fight against eventual champions Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic, it was to no avail as they lost 4-6 6-4 10-7.
It was a relatively quiet week by British standards although there were still a few wins of note. Tara Moore and Conny Perrin continued their stellar year as the pair reached the semi-finals before being defeated by the imperious top seeded Asia Muhammad and Taylor Townsend in a $50K across the pond.
Greece continues to be a popular destination for our Brits as two all British male pairs took to the courts. Scott Clayton and Jonny O’Mara disappointingly fell in the quarter-finals 6-1 7-6. This may have been a blessing in disguise for Jonny though, given his excellent run to the final of the singles. There was a superb first round victory for the wildcard pairing of George Davies and Joshua Paris, as they managed to defeat the Irish pair of Peter and Samuel Bothwell. Their campaign ended against the second seeds in the next round though.
Over in Qatar, James Marsalek was also unable to live up to his billing as fourth seed alongside Javier Pulgar-Garcia. Unforunately, the pair could not put up much of a fight, as they were forced to withdraw from their quarter-final encounter.
Despite four Brits partaking in doubles action in Turkey, there were no all British pairings. Nevertheless, there were two Brits on the court at the same time, as Richard Gabb and Marat Deviatiarov faced Joel Cannell and Jakub Wojcik in the opening round. Much to everyone’s surprise, Joel emerged victorious against the top seeds but was abruptly beaten in the next round. There was no luck for Imran Aswat and Luke Stevenson who both lost in the first round.
There were also winless weeks for Tanysha Dissanayake and Sabrina Bamburac in Tunisia, as well as Samantha Murray in Egypt.