Team Bath MCTA Academy player Jess Simpson came out on top in the battle of Bath at the Aegon GB Pro-Series tennis tournament at the University of Bath today (Monday).
Simpson beat University of Bath Business Administration student Tash Starling in the opening round of women’s singles qualifying, but she had to do it the hard way, battling back after Starling won the first set before going on to take the contest 1-6 6-3 6-0.
“It wasn’t the prettiest tennis but I’m happy to win,” said Simpson. “It’s hard to play against a friend. We can now have to see what tomorrow brings.”
Sixteen-year-old Eden Richardson, winner of this year’s under-16 national title, put up a brave battle against 28-year-old Lina Stanciute from Lithuania, who had a career high world ranking of 197. Stanciute raced away to a 3-0 lead in the opening set but the young Bath player battled back to 4-2, before the Lithuanian went on to take the set 6-2.
It was more of the same in the second set when the Lithuanian took the lead, but it wasn’t all one-way traffic with Richardson having a few moments of brilliance against the qualifying fourth seed. Stanciute ground out the result 6-2 6-2.
Alex Walker, the reigning BUCS (British Universities and Colleges Sport) women’s singles champion, came up against Ireland’s big-hitting Amy Bowtell, top seed for the qualifying rounds. Walker, a University of Bath Management student, fought well in the opening set before going down 7-5. The second set was a more dominant display of tennis from Bowtell as she turned the screw on Walker when it mattered, after some brilliant shots from Walker to take the set 6-1, with the result not reflecting on the quality of the match.
University of Bath Sport and Exercise Science student Emma Hurst fought out an exciting contest with fellow Brit Jasmine Amber Asghar. The Bath student, a Trendell Scholar, was edged out of the first set on a tie-break and then went down 6-3 in the second with Asghar hitting some powerful crosscourt shots to take the match.
The final match to finish on court four saw Bath’s Grace Dixon face second seed Barbara Bonic. The Serbian showed her class in the first set winning 6-1. But the second set wasn’t as smooth. Dixon came out making Bonic work for the match before her opponent clinched the final set 7-5.
In an all-British clash that went three sets between Bath’s Maria Budin and Laura Sailsbury, Sailsbury made the best start winning the first set 6-2 before a spirited performance in the second set from Budin saw her take it 6-4. But Sailibury came out on top in the end, taking the deciding set 6-2.
In the last day of men’s qualifying, Bath-based Andy Bettles booked a place in the main draw with a 6-2 7-6 win over fellow Briton Joel Cannell.
The Aegon GB Pro-Series Bath tournament continues until Sunday (9 November) and admission is free to spectators throughout.
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