Brydan Klein returned to form after injury this week at the ATP Challenger €42.5k in Ilkley this week, reaching the semi-finals as a wildcard and picking up a Wimbledon main draw wildcard as a result. Meanwhile, in the corresponding ITF Futures $50k women’s draw, Sam Murray was again the Brit who got the furthest after a last-16 appearance.
I would like to thank the crowds at @Ilkleytennis for really getting behind me this week. Especially today! I can't wait to come back 👏🏼💪🏻
— Brydan Klein (@klein_brydan) June 18, 2016
— Ray Bundell tennis (@RayBundell) June 18, 2016
Only Klein and Murray actually got past the first round, with several Brits having entered higher-level grass-court events in Birmingham and London, meaning the only main draw entrants were seven wildcards – four men and three women, with no Brits making it out of the qualifying draw intact.
In the Men’s draw, wildcard Marcus Walters impressed in qualifying, securing a first round victory against 34-year-old Thai Sanchai Ratiwatana before a somewhat fortuitous walkover against 8th seed Zhe Li of China took him a game away from the main draw. Unfortunately, the Brit was beaten 6-2 6-4 by Daniil Medvedev of Russia and denied. Joe Salisbury was the only other male Brit to reach the final round of qualifying, having impressively beaten 7th seed Axel Michon of France 4-6 7-6(6) 6-4 in the second qualifying round. Unfortunately, he too was denied in the final round by Pole Michal Przysiezny, going down 7-6(2) 6-4. Kudos to wildcard Ryan Storrie, 17, who won one qualifying match before a close run defeat to world #215 Adrian Menendez-Maceiras of Spain. Other qualifying failures included Dan Cox, Neil Pauffley, Daniel Bennett, Jack Molloy, Max Benaim, Keelan Oakley and Jay Clarke.
There was plenty of British action in the women’s qualifying draw too, but again no qualifiers, with Katy Dunne and Lisa Whybourn coming closest before final round defeats. Whybourn took out top seed Misa Eguchi of Japan in the first round and looked to have cleared out her section of the draw, but was denied 7-6(4) 6-2 by Sanaz Marand of India, while Katy Dunne also picked off a seed in the opening round, beating 6th seed Catalina Pella of Argentina 2-6 6-3 6-1 before beating fellow Brit Jazzamay Drew before a heartbreaking 4-6 7-6(5) 7-5 defeat to Jaimie Fourlis of Australia in the final round. Credit to young Megan Davies, who reached the second round after defeating fellow Brit Emma Hurst 6-1 3-6 6-3 in the first, but the rest of the entrants – Eden Silva, Eden Richardson, Serena Nash, Lucy Brown, Maia Lumsden and Beth Grey – all fell in the first round of qualifying.
In the Men’s main draw, Jonny O’Mara was the only Brit of the four wildcards to not pick up a set, losing 7-6(5) 6-2 to top seed Jordan Thompson of Australia – an unfortunate draw, given his recent excellent form after several niggling injuries have hampered his ranking somewhat. Liam Broady secured the middle set of three against Grega Zemlja of Slovenia but eventually fell 6-2 3-6 6-4, while Lloyd Glasspool was pegged back by Joe Salisbury’s conqueror Michal Przysiezny 6-7(5) 6-3 6-3. That just left Klein, who broke an eight-match losing streak to defeat 4th seed Igor Sijsling of the Netherlands 6-4 7-6 to pick up his first win of the year(!), and kick start an excellent week. The Brit then defeated Zemlja 6-7(4) 6-2 6-3 amidst ten total breaks of serve, before an excellent 6-4 3-6 7-5 win over American former world #43 Ryan Harrison, with Klein winning the match despite Harrison winning more points throughout. Klein’s excellent run came to an end in the semi-finals after a 3-6 7-6(6) 6-4 defeat to Frenchman Vincent Millot, although after coming so close to victory in the second set, that defeat will surely have hurt despite an excellent week overall for the ex-Aussie 26-year-old.
In the women’s draw, wildcards Emily Appleton and Freya Christie came close to first round wins but just missed out – Christie was drawn against 5th seed Ying-Ying Duan of China and was edged out of both sets, going down 6-4 7-5, while 16-year-old Appleton took the first set against Dutchwoman Cindy Burger before going down 2-6 6-3 6-2 after failing to convert 5 games from game point positions. That just left Murray, who won 5-7 6-3 7-5 against Lesley Kerkhove, also of the Netherlands, in the first round, before a straight sets defeat to second seed Evgeniya Rodina of Russia in the second round.