In the second of three 3-day AEGON British Tour Tier 2 events in early May, Joshua Sapwell claimed his third successive British Tour title while unseeded 18-year-old Anna Popescu beat the odds to claim the women’s title after threatening to do so with some impressive recent performances.
Sapwell’s victory this week is arguably more impressive than the two that followed, given he had to beat two Brits that are well-ranked on the ATP Tour en route to picking up the title, while each of the two draws threw up their fair share of surprises as the weekend went on.
In the Men’s draw, only four seeds managed to reach the quarter-finals, with Sam Price , Kyle Fellows  and Alex Juniper  all falling in the first round, while Will Davies  lost to eventual semi-finalist Robert Leck in the second. In the first quarter, top seed Joe Salisbury, the huge favourite for the event, came past Jake Williams 6-4 6-3 to set up a semi-final clash with Leck, who beat fellow non-seed Oscar Cutting 6-4 6-2 in the second semi-final. Meanwhile, Sapwell came past Christian Mills 6-1 6-2 to set up a mouthwatering semi-final with second seed Robbie Ridout, who had beaten eighth seed Michael Shaw 6-2 6-1 in the final quarter-final.
Salisbury came past Leck as expected, but not without being pushed all the way by the youngster – the pair split a couple of sets 6-4 between them, before Salisbury just held out to clinch 10-8 in the match tiebreak and reach the final. In contrast, Sapwell eased past Ridout, ranked just outside the top 1000 in the world rankings, 6-1 6-2, to line up alongside Salisbury in the final. Sapwell once again proved his credentials and indicated he really should be ranked on the ATP Tour with a 6-1 5-7 10-7 victory over Salisbury in the final to claim his third successive British Tour trophy.
In the women’s draw, the two finalists ended up being the players who defeated the top two seeds en route to an unlikely final pairing. In the first quarter-final, Anna Popescu, who had beaten top seed Aimee Gibson in the second round, came past fellow non-seed Harriet Petley 6-0 6-1, to set up a clash against another non-seed, Summer Yardley, who had beaten fifth seed Lily Ghodrati and seventh seed Alisha Reayer, in the semi-finals. In the bottom half, third seed Ceire Mullins had benefitted from a bye and two retirements to reach the semi-finals, where she faced sixth seed Camille Verden-Anderson, who had beaten second seed Mollie Crouch 10-6 in a match tiebreak in the final quarter-final.
Verden-Anderson endured a second successive match tiebreak victory against Mullins to reach the final, eventually winning 4-6 6-4 10-8, while Popescu continued her excellent record of not dropping a set with a 6-4 7-5 victory over Yardley in the other semi-final. In the final, Verden-Anderson went into a third consecutive match tiebreak, and this time she didn’t have enough to squeeze past unseeded Popescu, who secured the title with a 4-6 6-4 10-6 victory.