Road to Wimbledon

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It has been an awful month of weather for tennis, but the boys and girls U14 players at Stonehaven Tennis Club lit up the skies with a tremendous show of talent, grit and determination that thrilled all that watched from start to finish. They were taking part in the ‘Road to Wimbledon’, a national singles competition that the club has contested for the last two years.

Round one for all the clubs is to have a separate boys and girls tournament staged at their own courts, and the winning boy and girl goes through to the county finals. Should they win that, they are rewarded with the unforgettable memory of playing on the famous lawns of the All England Club.

On Saturday April 21, the girls took to the stage in a round robin format with two groups of four, the winners of each group going on to meet in the final.

Slight favourite was Annabel Burns (12), currently the under 14 singles club and ladder champion. On the other side of the draw lay Aoife Aitken (13) who was hungry for success having lost to Annabel in an epic final last summer.

Despite some stirring performances from their opponents, in particular Amber Blanksma who had been ill the night before, both girls looked to be heading for the final relatively untroubled, until Annabel came up against the big hitting and in- form Caitlin Young, who pushed her all the way in the decider for who would meet Aoife in the final. Aoife battled past the gifted Mallory Hornsby in her final round match

Prior to the final, Caitlin was involved in the 3rd/4th play-off, but lost to the ever-improving Erin Patterson in 3 sets.

The final turned out to be thrilling from start to finish, with outstanding baseline rallies and featured a quite brilliant contrast that signifies every great tennis match, namely the great attacker vs the great counter puncher.

After an hour, Aoife eventually took a gruelling first set 7-5 with the relentless hitting eventually breaking down Annabel’s defences. The second set was also neck and neck, but Aoife broke serve in in the vital 7th game and held on to take the set, and the title 7-5 6-3.

She now moves on to compete in the county finals at David Lloyd Dundee on June 9/10 against winners from other clubs, but congratulations go to all the girls.

The following day saw the boys take centre stage, again in a round robin format. Rising star of the North East, Patrick Young (11) was slight favourite ahead of the diminutive Lewis Carmichael (13) but once again the other boys put in an excellent display and pushed the big two all the way.

Lewis won through to play Patrick, and the stage was set for a fascinating final.

Unfortunately, Lewis injured himself slightly during the match, but that is to take nothing away from Patrick, who put in a dominant display. Patrick won through 6-1 6-2 and will no doubt head to the county finals with extreme confidence.

In the 3rd/4th place playoff, Stuart Holley (14) beat up-and coming Tyler Doran in straight sets. Both boys are definitely ones to watch in future, with Tyler seemingly improving on a day to day basis. ‘The Road to Wimbledon’ is just one of many events happening at Stonehaven Tennis club, with the competitors part of our performance squads running on Tuesdays.

Junior and adult men’s and ladies teams continue to go from strength to strength in the leagues, whilst the club also caters for those from the age of four right up to adults in its coaching programme.