Photo: Charlotte JamesSingles Winner Roberta Vinci (Left) and runner up Maret Ani (Right)
The Welti Tennis Centre, who played host to the first $75K tournament in England for over ten years, created a perfect venue for many of the WTA’s highly ranked players as they gathered to participate in the ITF Women’s Circuit tournament week commencing 22nd September. Amongst the high performance players, two members of Britain’s Fed Cup team, Elena Baltacha and Katie O’Brien competed for the title.
On Monday 22nd September, the final day of the Singles qualifying, the club invited 150 girls from local primary schools to participate in a ‘Kiddies Clinic’ with help from Elena Baltacha and Jade Curtis, both British and currently ranked 124 and 449 respectively. The idea behind the clinic called ‘Think Pink’ was to promote Women’s tennis to the Nation’s youngsters who then were able to watch the entrants compete. A question and answer session was headed by British player Yasmin Clarke, currently ranked 626, who happily explained the highs and lows of being a professional player.
Main Draw Wild Card entrant Laura Robson, who plays left-handed, fought her way through to the second round with a 7-6(4) 2-6 6-3 victory over British No. 8 Sarah Borwell. Her success continued as she reached the semi finals meeting Maret Ani from Estonia, however it ended here after one hour and 32 minutes, when Ani defeated the British junior no.1 in three sets, 6-2 3-6 6-0.
Roberta Vinci from Italy clinched her 9th career title against Ani in the ITF Singles final winning 7-5 7-5. Shrewsbury was the fourth meeting for Vinci, the tournament No.7 seed, and Ani, the no.2, after Latinas and Poitiers in 2003 and Rimini in 2008. Ani has never taken a set from the Italian and after practising together at the Welti Tennis Centre all week it was not surprising the final was a close match. “I played good tennis here this week,” said a delighted Vinci following the match. “I am very, very happy.”
The Doubles competition also saw a fierce yet exciting final as the number one and two seeds fought for the trophy. Borwell, who’s currently has a career-high doubles ranking of No.145 and partner Courtney Nagle, from USA, came head to head with Britain’s Anna Smith and partner Johanna Larsson from Sweden. Smith and Larsson won 7-6(6) 6-4 making this their third doubles title in 2008.