Tuesday, 23/1/2018 | 1:40 UTC+0

Week 23 ITFs: Njoze Reaches $10k Semi-Final in Turkey

Mirabelle Njoze was the top performer at ITF level this week, after the sixth seed reached the semi-finals of the ITF Futures $10k event in Antalya, Turkey, in a tournament that was relatively successful for several of the Brits involved.

As of our last update, six Brits were still involved in the competition on Ottoman soil, and in the women’s draw there were two quarter-finalists as qualifier Suzy Larkin once again won two matches to go within a $10k main draw win of being ranked on the WTA Tour. Larkin, who was joined in the second round by Njoze and direct entrant Jazzamay Drew, won 6-1 6-4 against Belorussian lucky loser Darya Shulzhanok – whom she had beaten in the final round of qualifying to make the main draw – to pick up her third and fourth WTA points, although these count for nothing until she has a third set of tournament points under her belt.

Njoze, meanwhile, faced Croatian Mariana Drazic and came from a set down for the first time this year to secure a 2-6 6-4 6-1 victory, breaking four times from four opportunities and winning 8 out of 11 close games. However, Jazzamay Drew fell 6-2 6-4 to second seed Nastja Kolar of Slovenia, who would go on to beat both the other Brits involved in the following two rounds.

It was Larkin up against Kolar first, and the 23-year-old, who has never been ranked on the WTA Tour, fell 6-1 6-2 in a rather predictable result. With Larkin in qualifying again for next week’s tournament, though, she may well find herself decently ranked by the end of the month. Njoze, meanwhile, pulled off an excellent 6-2 6-1 victory over third seed Margarita Lazareva of Russia, saving six out of seven break points for her best win of the year. The Slovenia second seed, however, would claim her third British scalp in a row in the semis, though, winning 7-6(8) 6-2 against Njoze to deny the Brit a place in her first final of the year.

In the Men’s draw, Scott Clayton and Scott Duncan were waiting on their first round matches at our previous update, and it was one Scott out of two at Duncan failed to become ATP-ranked after a 7-6(5) 6-4 loss to Frenchman Nicolas Rosenzweig, who plays his club tennis in the UK. Scott Clayton, however, did secure a first round victory with a 6-0 6-7(3) 6-3 victory over Brazilian Alex Blumenberg, but would be denied in the following round by second seed Nicolaas Scholz of France despite taking the first set, going down 3-6 6-1 7-6(6). It was Joshua Paris who impressed, therefore, after the qualifier won 4-6 6-2 6-1 against Lithuanian third seed Laurynas Grigelis, breaking serve a whopping eight times and picking up easily his best win of the year against a player ranked almost 1000 places ahead of him in the world rankings. Paris’ run came to an end in the quarters, going down 6-2 6-2 in a straightforward defeat to seventh seed Claudio Fortuna of Italy.

The only other event with British interest at the end of our last update was in Egypt, with Sabrina Bamburac entered as a wildcard and having not played her first round match. The Brit will be delighted to have picked up a first round victory against unranked Frenchwoman Claudia Franze 7-5 6-3 for her first ranking point of the year, and will not be too disappointed with the manner of her defeat against 4th seed Petra Januskova of Canada in the second round, going down 6-2 6-2.

SF: [6] Mirabelle Njoze (Turkey $10k)
QF: [Q] Joshua Paris, [Q] Suzy Larkin
(Turkey $10k)
R2: Sabrina Bamburac
(Egypt $10k); Scott Clayton, Jazzamay Drew (Turkey $10k); [Q] Jonathan Gray (Hong Kong $10k); [8] Laura Deigman (Israel $10k)
R1: [Q] Scott Duncan
(Turkey $10k), Keelan Oakley (Bulgaria $10k); [Q] Robbie Ridout (Hong Kong $10k) [Q] Toby Martin (Italy $10k); [Q] Luke Oakley (Poland $10k); Francesca Stephenson (Turkey $10k)

FQR: [q6] Aswin Lizen (USA $25k); Laura Sainsbury (Spain $10k); Nicholas Nugent, [qWC] Francesca Wilkes (Turkey $10k) 
QR2: [q13] Sizya Kivanda
(Turkey $10k)
QR1: Daniel Manlow
(USA $25k); Joe Cooper, Patrick Foley, [q3] Samuel Ferguson (Mozambique $10k); [q14] Max Andrews, [qWC] Mehdi Naqvi (Romania $10k); Luke Simkiss, Daniel Gunn (Turkey $10k)


25-year-old University of St Andrews graduate with a rather insane passion for British Tennis. Boston United fan (don't ask). Favourite tennis player: the Brummie bunch - Dan Evans and Lloyd Glasspool.


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