IT proved to be a challenging week’s weather for LTA British Tour referee Peter Grimsdale and tournament director Kyle Brassington, as well as Ilkley Open referee Parul Patel and her assistants, but the schedule was successfully completed by Saturday tea-time.The Grade Two British Tour started on the grass courts but largely finished indoors, and both the men’s and women’s singles finals were played under cover.
There might not have been any Ilkley Lawn Tennis & Squash Club members who went deep into either event, but, for the second time in five years, there was a West Yorkshire winner of the men’s singles.In 2017, Luke Johnson defeated Clay Crawford 6-2, 7-6 in an exciting all-Leeds decider, while on Saturday Jordan Reed-Thomas, from Headingley, won his first British Tour title by seeing off the unseeded Alexander Maggs 6-4, 6-4 in 75 minutes.Yorkshire county player Reed-Thomas, who was seeded fifth, has had a busy fortnight as the 26-year-old had helped Yorkshire to promotion in Men’s Group Two of County Week in Manchester the previous week.
Midlander Maggs, who is 20, dropped his serve in the third game with a double fault, and Reed-Thomas gave him little chance of breaking back in the sixth game, serving four aces in five points to hold for 4-2.Reed-Thomas, a former Leeds Beckett University student who now trains with their squad, completed the first set in 34 minutes against his powerful opponent, who often failed to capitalise on the third shot of a rally when he was serving.
Maggs, who is about to start his third year at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, studying finance and economics, did save a break point in the fifth game of the second set, but dropped his serve two games later.Coach Reed-Thomas held to love to go 5-3 in front but then showed fallibility for the first time in the match when serving for the title, and had to save two break points in a long game before winning.
Reed-Thomas, who wants to play full-time but needs more backing, said: “I played really well and served really well, so I was happy with that.
“Alexander played really well, was really aggressive and served huge and there was not much in it at the end.
“But I was definitely nervous in that last game as before I had been holding serve easily, but then I threw in those two double faults.
“Being a British Tour event at Ilkley definitely played a role in my nerves. It definitely means more to me to win one in your own county.”
Next up for Reed-Thomas, who earned £300 for his title triumph, is the National Club Doubles League finals in London, representing Roundhay Tennis Club, while he also has a British Tour event in Sutton to look forward to after that in mid-August.There was also a first-time LTA British Tour winner of the women’s singles in left-handed 16-year-old Ruby Hart.The six-footer from Hampstead Garden Suburb in London defeated fourth seed Kira Reuter 6-2, 7-6 (9-7), recovering from 5-1 down in the tie-break.Hart admitted: “I was quite nervous but I played well, although I got a bit tight when I had match points on her serve at 5-4 in the second set.
“However, then I played well in the tie-break.”
Hart wants to become a doctor, but first will prepare for taking A-Levels in biology, chemistry, maths and further maths and then study medicine at university.Meanwhile, Reuter, who attends the University of California Santa Barbara, was just happy to be playing without pain after four years of problems with her knees.
In the Ilkley Open, which is a Grade Three tournament, seventh seed Alexander Tikhonov won the Ilkley Open men’s singles, defeating Scot Ruairidh Fraser, who reached the quarter-finals of the British Tour before losing to Reed-Thomas, 6-4, 6-4.Nottinghamshire’s Elizabeth Massie, seeded second, won the women’s singles by a walkover against 6ft 2in, 14-year-old Ava Williamson, who qualified for the LTA British Tour singles and went all the way to the semi-finals.
The men’s doubles final had a north-eastern flavour as second seeds Dan Bennett and Matthew Telford beat third seeds Adam Barratclough and Luke Laws 1-6, 6-4, 12-10.
The women’s doubles title also headed up Sunderland way as seventh seeds Amy Hoburn and Lauren Jones defeated Sheffield’s Sarah Copley and Annique Varty, from the Borders, 6-1, 6-1.
Jones also hoovered up the mixed doubles title, in partnership with Laws, as they beat Fraser and Kirsty Robertson 6-1, 6-2.
Copley, 14, won the girls’ 18 & under crown, with the ninth seed defeating seventh seed Farah Yossry 6-1, 6-1, while the 16 & under final was much closer, with top seed Francesca Simpson edging out fourth seed Teodora Prisadnikova 5-7, 6-3, 12-10.
Sixth seed Rose O’Donovan McCann won the 14 & under title by 4-2, 4-1 over second seed Megan Lack, while the seeding committee got it right at 12 & under level as top seed Lara Savic beat the unseeded Lisa Bolton 6-4, 6-2.
However, Bolton took the 11 & under crown in a thriller 1-4, 4-2, 10-8 against second seed Elisha Lax, while Naina Kapoor was the 10 & under champion by 4-2, 4-2 against Olivia Gaugry.
Tom Parker won all five of his matches to take the nine & under title, while Oliver Coxon was the eight & under winner, defeating Maxime Gaugry 12-10.
Among the boys’ events, 16th seed Euan Mackenzie won the 18 & under singles when 13th seed Logan Cowan retired when trailing 5-2, while third seed Lance Nisbet was a convincing winner of the 16 & under title by 6-2, 6-0 over top seed Ben Wrann.
Louis Stewart was equally dominant at 12 & under level, beating top seed Orry Farnworth 4-1, 4-0, while a fourth seed also won the 11 & under singles, with Oliver Wilson defeating second seed Alasdair Low 6-1, 6-4.
Max Hodkinson emerged on top at 10 & under level, beating Reuben Revell 4-1, 4-1.
In the doubles, top seeds Kyle Mackay and Marcus Mclaren won the 14 & under event, defeating eighth seeds Logan Gillespie and Isaac King 6-2, 6-3, while Wilson made it a double, winning the 12 & under final with Toby Shaw as second seeds without dropping a game to top seeds Ben Beard and Oliver Heron.
Simpson also bagged two crowns, pairing with Molly Robinson as top seeds to win the 16 & under girls’ doubles, beating third seeds Aimee Knowles and Maddie Turnbull for the loss of just one game.
Ava Moss and Mia Tinsley won the 12 & under girls’ doubles by winning both their round-robin matches.
Andrew Low won the men’s 45 & over singles, beating second seed and home club member Andrew Hutchinson 4-3 (7-3), 4-1, but Hutchinson won the 55 & over title as top seed, defeating the unseeded Roger Kuhlman 6-3, 6-0.
Second seed Brian Barrowman was the over-65 winner, beating Michael Eggleston 6-1, 6-1, while Jan Mort lifted the women’s over-45 title by 6-1, 6-1 over second seed Mayuma Ami.
Favourites Stephen Batte and Alan Cockman won the men’s over-55 doubles by 6-2, 3-6, 10-2 over Nat Wright and Barrowman.