By Glenys Furness
- Jay Clarke claimed first clay Challenger title
- Took out top seed en route
ANNING, CHINA – Jay Clarke claimed his maiden clay court challenger title. The Brit was seeded fourteenth and dispatched the top seed along the way.
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Brit of the Week
Jay Clarke entered the Challenger event in Anning and was seeded fourteenth earning a bye in the first round. The second round match saw the Brit against Matteo Viola. The Italian stayed with Clarke for a while in the first set, before the seed obtained the break of serve required to seal the lead. In the second set the Brit dominated with Viola struggling to hold serve. Clarke took the match in straight sets and moved into the next round 6-3, 6-1.
In the third round Clarke was against Jordan Thompson the top seed. The first set was very close with neither player wanting to budge. Going toe to toe it looked to be heading to a tiebreak. However, Clarke managed to secure the break right at the end of the set. The Australian fought back in the second set, breaking the Brit twice to level up the match. Clarke re-grouped and came out fighting. The final set saw the Australian unable to cope with the Brit, and Clarke secured the next round place 7-5, 2-6, 6-2.
The quarter-final pitched Clarke against another seeded Australian, this time James Duckworth the ninth seed. In a repeat of the previous round, the players were very evenly matched. Once again Clarke secured the break of serve right at the end of the set to take the lead. Duckworth fought back in the second set, getting one break of serve on the Brit and levelling up the match. Clarke was not to be beaten though, and completely dominated the deciding set, the Aussie struggled to even hold serve. The Brit progressed to the semi-final 7-5, 3-6, 6-1.
In the semi-final the Brit was against Goncalo Oliveira. The Portuguese player was no match for Clarke, who easily broke in both of the sets. Oliveira tried to stay with the Brit, but Clarke was too strong almost breaking at will. The Brit dominated in the second set leaving the Portuguese forlorn. Clarke moved into the final in straight sets 6-3, 6-2.
The final saw the fourteenth seed against the second seed Prajnesh Gunneswaran. The Indian had only dropped one set en route, and that was in the semi-final. On rankings the Indian was favourite to take the title. However, Clarke had other ideas. The Brit needed just one break in each set to displace the second seed and claim his first clay court Challenger title 6-4,6-3.
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Challenger & ITF Round Up
James Ward was defeated by Sebastian Korda in the second round in Sarasota 6-4, 6-7(3), 6-1.
Mukhtar Andu was defeated by Benjamin Lock in the first round in Nigeria 6-0, 6-0.
Jack Draper was defeated by Danylo Kalenichenko in the second round in Nigeria 6-4, 7-5.
Toby Martin was defeated by Wilson Leite in the second round in Italy 7-5, 6-2.
Naiktha Bains was defeated by Anastasia Grymalska in the first round in Italy 6-1, 6-3.
Jonathan Gray was defeated by Benjamin Winter Lopez in the first round in Madrid 7-6(3), 6-3.
Ryan Storrie was defeated by Ly Hoang Nam in the first round in Madrid 7-5, 7-5.
Isaac Stoute was defeated by Pavel Krainik in the first round in Cancun 6-3, 6-7(5), 7-6(2).
Julian Cash was defeated by Connor Farren in the first round in Cancun 6-2, 6-2.
Andrew Watson was defeated by Adam El Mihdawy in the second round in Cancun 6-4, 6-0.
Alexis Canter was defeated by Peter Goldsteiner in the first round in Cairo 6-4, 6-2.
Amanda Carreras was defeated by Rosa Vicens Mas in the final in Tunisia 6-4, 6-2.
Next week Brits play in Barcelona, Nanchang, Leon, Nigeria, Italy, France, Mexico, Egypt, Tunisia, Uzbekhstan & Columbia.
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