It may have been one of the busier weeks on the ATP Tour but it was the women who stole the show with a hat-trick of victories to record our first triple title winning week since the feature’s birth.
Fresh on the comeback path, Samantha Murray and her partner Despina Papamichail were the surprise story as they performed remarkably to claim the title. Opening against the third seeds looked a tough ask but Murray and Papamichail were more than up for the challenge, coming through 6-2-6-2 before defeating the Kalimullina sisters 6-0 6-1 to reach the semi-final. There they were greeted by the second seeds who they sneaked past with a 10-8 DTB victory. After facing the third and second seeds, it seems only fitting that the first seeds should await them in the final. It was routine in the end, with Murray and her Greek partner rolling out 6-3 6-2 victors.
Another Brit involved in a comeback-of-sorts is Lisa Whybourn. The Brit has only been playing consistently since last August and is starting to string together some good results. This week she was in Italy alongside Pia Konig but the pair had to battle hard to reach the final. After a first round bye they twice had to come through DTBs – although their final opponents faced the same challenge. Therefore it was no surprise when Whybourn and Konig and their Italian opposition went to a deciding tie-break in the final. It was the British player and her Austrian partner that managed to sneak the tense breaker, coming through 11-9.
The final Brit to go the distance this week was Francesca Stephenson partnering the Argentinean Guadalupe Perez Rojas. The third seeds progressed comfortably through all three of their first matches in order to reach the final, defeating the second seeds on their way. It was the fourth seeds on the opposite side of the net in the final and it all looked to be going to script for Fran and Guadalupe as they cruised through the opening set. However, they were pegged back in the second, dropping their first set of the week. Composure was regained though in the deciding tie-break, with Fran coming through 10-6 to seal a third title for British women.
— TeamBath MCTA Tennis (@teambathmcta) April 30, 2016
ATP and Challengers
With three ATP events it was a very busy week for the guys as they took to the clay courts in Munich, Turkey and Portugal.
It was just the Skupski’s that made the short flight over to Munich, but a kind first round draw against home favourites Dustin Brown and Florian Mayer proved fruitful as they battled into the quarters. Unfortunately, their run ended there as they were defeated in two sets by Oliver Marach and Fabrice Martin.
Portugal was the destination for both Colin Fleming and Kyle Edmund although the two would not team up. Colin was in familiar company as he partnered Jonathan Erlich. Their run was ended 6-4 6-4 in the quarter-finals by Borna Coric and Franko Skugor. Meanwhile Edmund experienced something of a blast from the past as he teamed up with his old juniors partner Frederico Ferreira Silva. The pair won both a US Open and French Open title as juniors but could not make it further than the quarter-finals, falling to seasoned doubles specialists Treat Huey and Max Mirnyi in two close sets.
Istanbul saw the largest collection of British players, with Aljaz Bedene, Jonathan Marray, and Dom Inglot all on court. Dom was the top seed with regular partner Robert Lindstedt. Unfortunately though, their campaign was cut short by an enforced withdrawal in the quarter-final. Marray fell in the first round but there was better luck for Aljaz who made it through the first round before he joined Dom with a quarter-final exit.
Three Brits were in action in a Challenger in Florida but found themselves all on the same court in the first round. James Ward was, rather bizarrely, partnered with his coach and former player Morgan Phillips. Morgan has not played on the circuit since 2012 but came back to partner James in his first match against Darren Walsh and Ruan Roelofso. Retirement has obviously done wonders for Morgan as he and James came through that clash. They almost made it two wins out of two, but were agonisingly defeated 16-14 in the DTB by second seeds Donald Young and Dean O’Brien.
Nothing. Zero. Zilch.
With Sam, Fran and Lisa stealing the limelight, there was little else to rave about on the doubles circuit. One highlight was the semi-final run of Sarah Beth Grey and Mia Nicole Eklund, who recovered from losing their first set 6-0 to win their first round match and back it up with a further over their top seeded quarter-final opponents.
Győr 10K: Congrats @fran_stephenson on her 10th ITF Pro doubles title! 3rd seeds Fran & Pérez Rojas ARG edged the 4th seeds 6-4 2-6 10:6 🙂
— Steven (@GBtennis) April 30, 2016
Sarah was not the only Brit to reach the semi-finals, as Mirabelle Njoze and Kassandra Davesne lived up to their billing as the third seeds in Tunisia. Regrettably their title charge was ended by the first seeds who progressed with a 7-6 7-5 win.
Scott Clayton managed one victory in Greece before being defeated by the fourth seeds but there were no other doubles victories. Joel Cannell and Richard Gabb both fell separately in Turkey, whilst Tara Moore and Amanda Carreras also disappointed with first round losses in America and Switzerland respectively.