Ilkley Open 2021 Smashing Start

ILKLEY Lawn Tennis & Squash Club member Joe Kelt came within a champions’ tie-break of reaching the final qualifying round in his home tournament.

The 18-year-old from Ben Rhydding lost 6-2, 1-6 (10-7) to Scott Hillerby, who only the week before had helped Ilkley to win the 18 & Under Boys’ National Club Championships at the National Tennis Centre at Roehampton.

Scott, 16, from North Leeds, who is a member at David Lloyd Leeds despite representing Ilkley at national level, still found it awkward to play a friend.

He said: “It is difficult. You always want to win but you also want them to win their matches.”

Kelt, who only got into the tournament as an alternate after a player withdrew, played both his matches on a pristine Centre Court.

Earlier in the day he had beaten Luke Kelsall, a 22-year-old from Chorley, 7-6 (7-2), 6-4.

At the same time as Kelt was playing his second-round qualifier, clubmate Tom Horsfall, 20 from Austwick, was being beaten at the same stage on No 1 Court.

The Leeds Beckett University student was on the wrong end of a 7-6 (8-6), 6-0 defeat against 13th seed Kyle Rae from Northamptonshire.

Last week at Ilkley, Rae had helped his county win promotion from Men’s Group Three of the LTA Summer County Cup behind champions Derbyshire, winning 12 of his 15 rubbers.

Horsfall said: “He played well. I played better in the first set but it was a pity that I didn’t win any games in the second set.”

His defensive skills were not enough against Rae, but they had been earlier in the day when the left-hander beat 16-year-old Oliver Hague from Stockport 3-6, 6-4 (13-11) on Centre Court.

Today (Tuesday) Hillerby faces Andy Brisdon in the final qualifying round.

Meanwhile, qualifying starts today in the women’s singles.

The main draw runs from Wednesday to Saturday.