Rising tennis stars Luca Pow from Solihull, Mary Hoggard (Harborne) and Lois Porter (Balsall Common) all progressed to the quarter-finals of the 14 and Under event of the Warwickshire County Closed Championships at Sutton Coldfield without dropping a set. Luca, 13, from Solihull, last year’s national 12 and Under champion had a comfortable win over Luca Vladau, 11, while second seed Radu Manolescu beat Sutton’s Aimar Anderson also in straight sets.
Unseeded Arron Lee from Sutton Coldfied proved the surprise package, surviving a tight first round struggle against Benjamin Beard then thrashing 7th seed Tobias Lambe (Leamington Tennis Club) 6-0 6-0 to reach the quarter-finals. In the 16 and Unders, Lee also looked a class act, surviving a first round cliff-hanger against Ben Pritchard-Cairns from Moseley, taking the deciding Championship tie break 10-4. He then gave the big-hitting second seed Daniel Agranovsky a scare, pushing him all the way in a titanic struggle lasting nearly 2 and a half hours, before Agranovsky’s narrowly squeaked through, thanks to his extra weight of shot and consistency on the big points.
Mary Hoggard, 14, who like Pow, recently reached the quarter-finals of the prestigious Road to Wimbledon National 14 and Under Championship, won her last 16 match at the County Closed against Sutton’s Cerys O’Neill and now plays 5th seed, gifted athlete Lucia Cassidy, 12, from Ettington near Stratford-upon-Avon. The second seeded Lois Porter, 13, comprehensively beat Rugby’s Samantha Delleman and now meets 6th seeded Sophie Smith from Sutton Coldfield. Mary also reached the Women’s Open final and takes on the gritty Kara Biggs, 31, from Warwick Boat Club who had too much guile and experience for the favourite Mia Faulkner, 15, winning their semi-final in straight sets.
“There have been some some very encouraging performances so far,” said organiser Bev Lancaster, “and good to see newcomers like Arron Lee coming through. It’s great experience for our talented youngsters to pit themselves against experienced older players. They learn so much, having to cope with that power and extra variety of shot.”