A bumper entry for the Suffolk Closed tennis championships at Ipswich
The Suffolk Closed Championships have attracted a bumper entry of 164 junior and senior players, and hopefully the onset of autumnal weather will not put too much of a dampener on this summer finale.
Indeed, despite a very wet Monday, and rain yesterday afternoon, referee Chris Rudolph has the tournament well on course, aided by the introduction of shorter sets and the use of the Indoor Centre at Ipswich Sports Centre.
Tournament organiser Sheelagh Watts is justifiably proud of the bumper entry, even if there is, once again, a worrying lack of older girls at the 18U and 16U age-levels.
Under-21 events have been incorporated before, though this is the first year for a wide range of senior events, former Sports Club Chairman David Howell top seed in the 55.0 Men’s Singles and the 45.0 Men’s Doubles competitions.
As is the usual pattern in this prestigious annual event, the seeded players are moving through in the majority of age-groups.
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Favourite in the Boys’ 18U is David Lloyd’s Jared Bones, with the 16U top seed Oscar Cutting, from Culford, expected to face him in the final.
A recurring hip injury has kept the Suffolk Men’s champion Ben Jones out of the singles, Jones is a singles quarter-finalist and a doubles finalist in the National Championships last week.
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The in-form Harriet Petley will be hoping to make it a hat-trick of 14U titles, having already made her mark at both Framlingham and Felixstowe.
The Culford pairing of Oscar Cutting and William Cooke-Wharton look on course to meet in the 16U decider, having met in the Felixstowe 18U final, while Thurston’s Luke Watson will be out to add to his Bury 14U title.
The 18Us gained invaluable experience on Monday, the titles going to Holbrook’s Saul Hindmarch and Bethany Gardens, from Framlingham.
It’s the turn of the 10Us today, with the 14U Girls’ Final also scheduled, with the remaining events to be decided at the end of the week, either on Friday or Saturday, weather permitting.