British wildcard Tara Moore will be undoubtedly delighted with an exceptional performance at this week’s ITF Futures $50k event in Eastbourne, UK, despite an eventual final defeat to top seed Alison Riske earlier this weekend. Elsewhere, in Manchester, both James Ward and Alex Ward fell at the quarter-final stage.
— Tara Moore (@TaraMoore92) June 3, 2016
— Alex Ward (@AlexWard1990) June 3, 2016
Moore had taken out three seeds en route to the final, but her toughest opponent yet awaited in the shape of Alison Riske, the 25-year-old American currently sitting at #93 in the world, having been #40 back in 2014. But Moore really did have her chances in the match, having taken the first set 6-4 and having had match points – two of them – in the second. But Riske was not to be denied, fighting back to take the second set to a tiebreak – which she promptly won 7-0 – and winning the third 6-3 to pick up her first $50k title of the year.
Moore must remain proud and not be downhearted after being so near to victory: to push a top 100 player so close is no mean feat, and to reach an ITF $50k final – as a relatively low-ranked wildcard compared to the rest of the field, too – is an even greater achievement. The Brit now goes on to qualifying for the WTA International event in Nottingham, where she required three victories to make the main draw.
Over in Manchester, it was perhaps not the week we were hoping for in terms of British success. Granted, it was great to see James Ward returning to a little bit of form by reaching the quarter-finals, and perhaps even better to see Alex Ward continue to push on and peak; he will once again hold a career high after this week’s Challenger quarter-final appearance.
But the quarter-final results for the gents were straight sets defeats, although both players came close in tiebreaks, with Alex Ward losing the second set tiebreak 13-11 against German Peter Gojowcyzk to concede the match, and James Ward losing the first set tiebreak 9-7 to charismatic German Dustin Brown, eventually succumbing to a 7-6(7) 6-2 defeat. Alex Ward stays in the UK to continue on the British grass court season, and has been awarded a wildcard to next week’s Challenger in Surbiton; James Ward head to Germany, to Stuttgart, and enters qualifying for the ATP 250 event taking place there.