Yorkshire-man Reaches British Tour Finals

YORKSHIRE have a British Tour finalist. 

Fifth seed Jordan Reed-Thomas defeated second seed Joe Tyler 7-5, 7-6 (9-7) in a bruising encounter indoors at Ilkley Lawn Tennis & Squash Club last night to reach his first tour decider. 

Reed-Thomas, from Headingley, helped his county to promotion from Men’s Group Two in Manchester last week.  The 26-year-old former Leeds Beckett University student, whose previous best in the tour was only a quarter-final, said: “I played well and so did he – it was a good match.  

“I got an nearly break in each set and was broken back late in each set, but managed to close it out in the first set and won a tie-break in the second. 

“There was nothing in the match – just a point here or there and he could have won.” 

Reed-Thomas, who has won all four of his matches in straight sets, will face the unseeded Alexander Maggs in today’s final. The 20-year-old, from Redditch in the Midlands, ended the run of 17-year-old Roan Jones 6-3, 6-4 in the other semi-final. 

Maggs, who is also in his first British Tour final, was the more powerful player and was pleased with his form. 

“It was a good level of play. I was a break down in the first set but played a great game to break back and was solid on my serve after that and applying pressure on his serve.  

“Roan, who played in the boys’ singles at Wimbledon a few weeks ago, is a good, young player and is hitting the ball better than I did three years ago.” 

Maggs, who had previously reached a couple of Tour semi-finals, added: “I am pretty pleased to have got to my first Tour final and we will see what happens.” 

The women’s singles has largely been the story of 14-year-old Ava Williamson.  The 14-year-old, from Bishops Stortford in Hertfordshire, had only previously played in one British Tour event – the recent event on grass at North Oxford, where she lost in the first round.  However, here she had to qualify here but won six successive matches to reach the main draw semi-finals, where she was beaten 7-6 (7-5), 6-2 by fourth seed Kira Reuter from Cambridge. 

Williamson, who is 6ft 2in, constructs her points well but sometimes has trouble finishing them off. 

“The set point in the first set was a classic example,” laughed the youngster, who hopes to play full-time when she has finished her education. 

Reuter said: “I had to dig deep and try and believe in my physicality. My serve was a real weapon and I used my head wisely, told my legs what to do and hope that they will follow. 

“I have had injured knees for the past four years – I have had a lot of screw work – but they are perfect and I am over the hump and am really proud of what I have achieved so far this week. 

“I basically have a couple of new knees and I am enjoying playing pain free. 

“Ava has quite a big wingspan – but not quite long enough!” 

Williamson said: “I have played a few matches on the grass and a few indoors, but I like the grass. 

“The semi-final was a matter of margins and sometimes I went for too much.” 

In the final, Reuter, who is a student at University of California Santa Barbara, will play 16-year-old left-hander Ruby Hart from London – or Hampstead Garden Suburb to be precise. The teenager, who reached the quarter-finals of the British Tour at Paddington earlier in the season, was left out of the Middlesex team for County Week, which caused a few raised eyebrows.  

Meanwhile, in the llkley Open, which is a Grade Three tournament compared to the Grade Two British Tour, home club member Arun Bahia lost in the quarter-finals of the men’s singles to Harry Cookson. The 19-year-old Bahia was defeated 4-3 (7-5), 3-4 (5-7) (10-7), recovering from 8-1 down in the Champions tie-break to be squeezed out.