AEGON Open Nottingham 2017
Wed, 21 Jun 2017 00:00
Phew what an exciting week we’ve had at the AEGON Open Nottingham!! The British contingent definitely did us proud. Liverpool’s Ken and Neal Skupski won an exciting men’s doubles final on Court 1 on Saturday, defeating the Aussie duo of John Patrick Smith and Matt Reid 7-6 2-6 10-7 in a nail-biting match tiebreak which kept the crowd on the edge of their seats! Meanwhile there was plenty of British representation in the women’s doubles as local girl Jocelyn Rae (from Arnold) teamed up with Laura Robson to reach the final, defeating fellow Brit (and reigning Wimbledon Mixed Doubles Champion) Heather Watson and her American partner Christina Mchale in the semi-finals. Johanna Konta and her Belgian partner Yanina Wickmayer also progressed to the semis but in the end the Aussie pair of Storm Sanders and Monique Adamczak proved too strong and they went on to defeat Rae and Robson and claim the title on Sunday 6-4 4-6 10-4 in another tight match which went right down to the wire.
British No. 1 and new World No. 7 Johanna Konta reached the women’s singles final at the AEGON Open Nottingham this year without even dropping a set! In the second round she defeated her own doubles partner Yanina Wickmayer 6-4 6-1, but fortunately they still seemed the best of friends afterwards! In the final against 20 year old rising star Donna Vekic, Konta initially raced out to a 6-2 lead, but the Croatian struck back taking the second set in a tiebreak to level the match at a set apiece. As temperatures soared to 30 degrees and the crowd wilted in the burning sun, Konta led 5-4 in the decider, but the unseeded Vekic once again raised her level, going on to take the match 2-6 7-6 7-5 in just under 2 and a half hours. She let out a squeal of delight and raced to embrace her team and celebrate the victory. It was Vekic’s second WTA tour title and the first time she had been old enough to actually drink the champagne awarded to the champion. According to the Nottingham Post, Donna Vekic knows how to celebrate in style as reportedly soon after she received the trophy she was excitedly planning a trip for a burger at Five Guys with her team.
After lifting the Elena Baltacha Trophy, Vekic said: “It is something I have been dreaming of since I got my first title and something that kept me going, because this feeling is amazing. There’s no way to describe it. It just keeps me motivated to work even harder.”
“To be honest, I really didn’t expect to win today. I was just hoping to get into the match, especially after the first set because I was struggling to find rhythm. I was just trying to focus on myself, serve as well as I can and try to be aggressive."
Konta, 26, said: "Credit to her for playing incredibly well, especially at the end. I’m very happy that I got to play five great matches on the grass. We just want to get as much time on the surface as possible heading into Wimbledon. I’m really happy that I got to come back and play here in Nottingham.”
In the men’s singles Britain’s Lloyd Glasspool enjoyed an incredible run, coming through qualifying and reaching the quarter-finals, only losing out to the eventual champion, Israel’s Dudi Sela. Sela claimed his 22nd ATP Challenger Tour Trophy on Sunday defeating Italy’s Thomas Fabbiano 4-6 6-4 6-3 in gruelling hot conditions. The weather has definitely been the topic of much discussion. Earlier on in the tournament umpire Mohamed Lahyani could be heard through the on-court mic wrapping his coat more tightly around him and visibly shivering but by the end of the week the weather had dramatically turned around. Not that Aussie Sam Groth was over-impressed by the British sunshine, having an entertaining discussion with Mohamed Lahyani later in the week, in which the umpire suggested that rather than chalk flying up it was in fact dust from the court behind the baseline. “Dust?! Dust?!!”, Groth exclaimed in exaggerated shock, “You Brits have a couple of days of sunshine and you think you’ve got dust!!”
Nonetheless let’s hope that the rainclouds stay away for the rest of the grass court season as the tour moves on to Birmingham and Queens Club this week. Johanna Konta is already safely through her opening round so fingers crossed she may still become the first British woman since Sue Barker in 1981 to claim a WTA tour title on home soil. Konta recorded her 300th career win right here in Nottingham last week.
Tickets are already on sale for the AEGON Open Nottingham 2018! For more info visit: https://www.lta.org.uk/major-events/aegon-open-nottingham/open-nottingham-tickets-2018/
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