BritWatch is our regular Friday piece introducing where each of our British players is playing in the upcoming week, whether it be on the ATP/WTA tours, the ITF Futures circuit, or further down at national, junior and collegiate level.
Week 22 – 30th May – 6th June 2016
Roland Garros is in full swing, but on the periphery, the grass court is bubbling under the surface. With big Challenger-level events in Eastbourne and Manchester this week on the green stuff, it can only mean one thing: the fight for recognition and Wimbledon wildcards is about to begin.
ATP World Tour
The only event on the ATP Tour this fortnight remains the French Open, and with the results from Saturday still to come, there are two Brits in action. Andy Murray, after two inexplicably difficult opening matches, finally found his groove against Ivo Karlovic to reach the fourth round yesterday, while British Number Two Aljaz Bedene must beat World Number One Novak Djokovic if he’s to join Murray in the last 16. It’s a momentous task, and the Brit is by far the outsider – but stranger things have happened, right?
ATP Challenger Tour
Brits ignore the tournaments on offer in the Czech Republic and Germany and focus entirely on the €42.5k event in Manchester, England. There’s a wealth of Brits in action, with Dan Evans likely to be third seed – and it looks like, thanks to withdrawals, that James Ward will join him in the main draw directly. The rest – the likes of Brydan Klein, Liam Broady, Alex Ward, Lloyd Glasspool, Joshua Milton, Ed Corrie, Richard Gabb, Neil Pauffley and Jonathan Gray will be required to qualify – although let’s not discount the likelihood of some of the those players receiving wildcards.
Due to the draw of Manchester, it’s a very quiet week on the ITF circuit for the Men. Rhett Purcell is seeded 12th in $25k qualifying in China, and faces Ruitong Fang in the second round. He requires two wins to qualify. At $10k level, Farris Gosea makes the main draw in Mexico, while in Tunisia, Dan Dowson is in the main draw while James Allemby is in qualifying. Allemby has qualified 4 times for ITF Futures main draw events in 34 attempts in the last 12 months. Finally, in Turkey, Joshua Paris is top seed in qualifying, and is joined by Jamie Praditngam and Scott Duncan.
AEGON British Tour
There’s a hugely interesting draw taking shape for the Tier 2 event in Wimbledon this week. 1.1-rated George Davies and Nikolai Snapes will probably snag the top two seedings, but youngsters such as Anton Matusevich, Louis Newman and Ben Draper will all have a say, while Drake University Freshman Vinnie Gillespie will also be one to watch. In qualifying there’s Jack Draper too, who will surely make the main draw. Should be an interesting tournament, this one.
The Junior French Open – a Grade A event – takes place this week, but unfortunately for the British Boys, qualifying has not gone well: fifth seed Alexis Canter, sixth seed Alastair Gray and Ewan Moore all fell in the very first round. In the main draw, we should expect to see British Juniors #1 and #2, Jay Clarke and Ryan Storrie. At the Grade 4 in Indonesia, Liu Hui Retallick should be in qualifying, while Sebastian Tong and Daniel Vishnick are at the Grade 5 in Albania. In Moldova, also at Grade 5 level, Harry Butler and Emile Hudd should be seeded.
With no Brits remaining in the French Open, ITFs are where it’s at this week, and despite much British action in Eastbourne at the $50k, there’s still plenty of Brits in action at Challenger and Satellite events across the globe. Amanda Carreras is playing at the highest level, in qualifying for the $100k in France, and we’ll come back to the $50k in the UK further down. At the $25k in Uzbekistan, Gabi Taylor is third seed in qualifying and has already won her first match. She needs one more win to make the main draw. The rest are at $10k level: Laura Deigman is in Israel, while Joanna Kondratowicz is in qualifying in Poland. Laura Sainsbury shows up in qualifying in Spain, while Francesca Jones will be attempting to become WTA-Ranked with a third successive tournament in Tunisia, where she’ll again need to come through a small qualifying draw first. Turkey once again proves popular, with Francesca Stephenson and Jazzamay Drew in the main draw, with Suzy Larkin in qualifying. Finally, in Buffalo, USA, Amelia Stuart is in qualifying.
And so to the $50k in Eastbourne: there were no Brits ranked highly enough to make the main draw directly, but Tara Moore, Katy Dunne and Lisa Whybourn have all taken claim to main draw wildcards. In qualifying, Emily Webley-Smith is seeded fifth, while Eden Richardson, Lily Ghodrati, Megan Davies, Camille Verden Anderson, Elise Van Heuvelen and Kasia Pitak have all taken qualifying wildcards. Also making the qualifying draw are: Emily Arbuthnott, Serena Nash, Emma Hurst, Samantha Murray, Holly Hutchinson, Aimee Gibson, Beth Grey, Katie Boulter, Dominique Covington, Holly Horsfall and Lucy Brown.
AEGON British Tour
It’s a less exciting-looking women’s draw in Wimbledon, with Holly Hutchinson the hot favourite the take the title as the biggest name and the highest-rated on the LTA Rating scale. However, she will face stiff opposition from fellow youngsters Mollie Crouch, Lauryn John-Baptiste, Camille Verden-Anderson and Alice Gillan. Several of these entries will depend on the successes of individuals in qualifying for the $50k in Eastbourne.
Heartbreakingly, Jodie Anna Burrage missed out by one place on the main draw for the Grade A Junior French Open, and lost in the final round of qualifying as the top seed. Katie Swan and Emily Appleton will both be in the main draw. In Moldova, at the Grade 5, Alessandra Ruggieri and Ellen Cramer-Todd are in qualifying.