It was a third doubles final of the year for Amanda Carreras and her regular Italian partner Alice Savoretti. The unseeded pair have played superbly in patches, but put together a breathless week of play to take their first 25K title as a pair.
— Point To Prove (@PointToProve_) May 21, 2016
They began with a straight sets opening round victory, then upset the fourth seeds with a 6-4 7-5 victory. After a testing opening set in the semi-finals, they surged through the second to book their spot in the final against the unseeded Oleksandra Korashvili and Maria Marfutina. It was a match worthy of its billing as the first two sets were split by tense tie-breaks. In the deciding tie-break it was Carreras and Savoretti who held their nerve, emerging as 10-6 winners to earn a superb clay court title.
Gibraltan born Carreras, was not the only British champion in week 20 though. In fact, she was not the only champion at the 25K level. Freya Christie and Harriet Dart recorded their first title as a pair, whilst Freya also earned her first 25K trophy.
Harriet’s doubles prowess meant the pair were competing as the third seeds and they succinctly surpassed expectations. Their first matches were fairly straightforward with a 6-4 6-4 victory quickly followed with a 6-4 7-6 triumph. The first true test came against the second seeds but they flew through that in straight sets to set up a final against the top seeded pair of Anastasia Gasanova and Maddison Inglis. The gulf in class was obvious from the first serve and the British pair delighted both themselves and fans alike as they won 6-3 6-2 to collect the title.
It was an exceptional week for the frighteningly talented 15 year old Francesca Jones who – competing in only her second professional doubles event – fought her way through to the final. Competing alongside fellow teenager Emmanuelle Girard, they announced themselves as contenders in round one when they ground out an upset over the fourth seeds, winning a deciding tie-break 10-7.
In the next round they faced fellow Brit, Mirabelle Njoze and her Swiss partner. In a truly bizarre match, each pair bagelled the other in the first two sets before the teenagers once again won a deciding tie-break 10-7. They then routed the second seeds two and four to reach the final two. Unfortunately, their scintillating run came up agonisingly short, as they went down to Natalija Kostic and Ganna Poznikhirenko 6-4 6-4.
Just over the Mediterranean, a clump of Brits took to the courts. Both Maia Lumsden and Jazzamay Drew – playing with separate partners – made it to the quarter-finals in Turkey before their exits. However the notable story from the week was another deep run by Francesca Stephenson. The 22 year old already has one doubles title this year and came within a whisker of grasping a second.
— Freya Christie (@Freya_Christie) May 21, 2016
A comfortable 6-1 6-3 victory was then proceeded by a walkover as the top seeded pair of Fran and Nastja Kolar booked their semi-final place. All four seeds made it to the semi-finals but the third seeds would provide no competition at all for Fran and her partner, who routed them with a double bagel. Their fluid success was short lived as their Indian final opponents won the first set 6-3. Fran gave her all in the second to sneak it 7-5 but a long week took its toll, and the Indian pair won comfortably in the end, 10-1, to take the title.
Geneva played host to four Brits this week with Ken and Neal Skupski pairing up whilst Dom Inglot and Colin Fleming operated with different partners. The latter two actually found themselves drawn against each other in round one, and it was Dom and his Croatian partner, Marin Draganja, who came away with the spoils. Unfortunately, Dom’s campaign did not last much longer as he lost in the next round. Meanwhile, the Skupskis narrowly lost to eventual champions Steve Johnson and Sam Querrey.
Tara Moore made another splash on the WTA Tour alongside Conny Perrin but unfortunately had her week cut short. The campaign in Germany did not last as they fell in the opening round.
It was a truly abysmal week for the men with not a single victory recorded on the doubles circuit. Toby Martin and Martin Baker both lost separately in Croatia whilst Imran Aswat, Matthew Chadwick and Ewen Lumsden fared no better nearby in Turkey. Elsewhere there were losses for Farris Gosea in Mexico, Scott Clayton and Jonny O’Mara in Portugal and James Allemby and Dan Dowson in Tunisia.
There was a little more success for the ladies on top of the success noted above. Greek player Despina Papamichail was back in action alongside a Brit but this time it was Katy Dunne. After prevailing 6-0 6-2 in their opener, their run was ended in the second round by the pair that upset the second seeds. There was also one victory for Nicola Slater in Romania but she was defeated in the second round and goes on in search of her first doubles title since 2014.
There is a slight feeling of déjà vu here but much like last week, Fran Stephenson and her partner made it to the final, only to crumble in a deciding tie-break. This week competing alongside Erika Vogelsang of the Netherlands, Fran was awarded with a first round bye which she duly backed up with a routine 6-3 6-1 victory. The semi-final against the third seeds was a real slog, and it took a tense 10-8 deciding tie-break victory to see them through.
— Francesca Stephenson (@fran_stephenson) May 28, 2016
Similarly to last week, there was a disappointing feeling that the top seeds ran out of gas in the final. After taking the first set 6-4 they were pegged back by the same scoreline in the second. Once again it was comfortable in the end for Fran’s opponents as they took the deciding tie-break 10-3 to leave Fran with her second runners-up medal in as many weeks.
Three Brits found themselves donning their clay court shoes for the red stuff in Paris this year, although all were playing with separate partners. Reigning Australian Open champions Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares got their campaign off to a flyer with a comfortable 6-3 6-3 victory, whilst Colin Fleming and Jonathan Elrich followed suit with an even more impressive 6-3 6-0 win. Ken Skupski’s French Open partnership with John Millman was short-lived though, as they went out in straight sets.
The second round was the final curtain for Colin and Jonathan, as their experienced opponents – Daniel Nestor and Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi – had too much for them. However, Jamie and Bruno would march on with another routine straight sets victory. The fourth seeds however were unable to replicate their Australian Open success, succumbing to a surprise third round defeat at the hands of Marcin Matkowski and Leander Paes to end British interest.
It is probably worth noting though that Jamie Murray is still in mixed doubles action and is into the quarter-finals alongside one of the superb Chan sisters. They play Roger-Vasselin and Klavackova in their next round. Johanna Konta was also supposed to be in action alongside Daniel Nestor but they withdrew. There was also heartbreak for Dom Inglot who was forced to miss the French Open for the second consecutive year after his partner, Robert Lindstedt, suffered an injury.
No @rolandgarros for a second year running. Annoyed 😤
— Dom (@dominglot) May 22, 2016
The highlight of the first round of Roland Garros was a superb win for Jocelyn Rae and Anna Smith, who recorded their first ever French Open win with a three set victory. British interest in the women’s doubles did not get further than them though, with Heather Watson, Johanna Konta and Naomi Broady all making first round exits.
It was a very different calibre of opposition in the second round as Anna and Jocelyn came up against the third seeded Chan sisters. The gulf in class was evident as the Chan’s rolled out comfortable 6-3 6-2 winners.
Amongst the best of the rest, the major notable performance was that of Fran Jones who is forming a formidable young partnership with Emmanuelle Girard. After reaching the final in Tunisia last week, they almost managed to do the same again, this time coming up agonisingly short in the semi-finals. They impressively brushed aside the second seeds though en route to the semis.
There were no other semi-final appearances from British players but there were some other notable first round victories. Matthew Brooklyn made a rare tour appearance as a wildcard alongside Andrew Dottino and recorded a first round victory – winning the battle of the wildcards. They exited in the next round.
Also making a second round exit was Billy Harris who earned a hard-fought first round victory before succumbing to the third seeds. Marco Wright was also in action in Portugal but was heavily beaten in the opening round.
On the whole though it was another fairly disappointing week littered with first round exits. Nicola Slater could not replicate last week’s first round victory as she fell in Romania whilst Gabi Taylor will also be disappointed not to have made more of her set advantage in Uzbekistan.
Farris Gosea made it back-to-back first round exits in Mexico, whilst both Chloe Compson and George Davies were double bagelled in Poland and Israel respectively. Finally, there were more hard-fought losses for James Allemby and Dan Dowson, as well as wildcards Scott Duncan and Michael Morphy.