The road to Wimbledon
EAST Devon Tennis Centre champion Jack Findel-Hawkins will bid to become the first player from Devon to win the Road to Wimbledon boys' singles title after the Exmouth-based teenager beat Adam West (Ivybridge) 6-4, 6-0 in the county final.
EAST Devon Tennis Centre champion Jack Findel-Hawkins will bid to become the first player from Devon to win the Road to Wimbledon boys' singles title after the Exmouth-based teenager beat Adam West (Ivybridge) 6-4, 6-0 in the county final.The newly crowned girls' champion is Emma Cooper (Woodbury Salterton) who qualified for the county stage of the competition by winning the Torquay junior club event.The Devon Road to Wimbledon finals are traditionally played at the South Devon Tennis Centre and Emma Cooper, seeded three, came through a testing final two rounds to beat the top two seeds.In the semi-finals, Cooper beat Lara Graney (Victoria Park TC) from Exeter 6-2, 6-1 before a superb win in the final over higher-rated local rival Liberty Brown (Budleigh) 6-1, 3-6, 10-6 and booked her a ticket to Wimbledon."It really was a fantastic final," said tournament referee Janet Richardson, after watching Cooper seal her place at the famous All-England Club in August alongside boys' qualifier Jack Findel-Hawkins.The overall draw included a number of Devon's top 14 and under junior players. One of the many relative newcomers was Seaton's Jake Henson who played very well to beat Daniel Strachan (Teign School) 6-1, 6-0 in the first round.Budleigh Salterton's George Lock competed for the Teignmouth Tennis Club title and, in his opening match, defeated Devon 10 and under star Robert Leck (Exeter G&CC) 6-3, 7-6, before losing out to East Devon Tennis Academy-bound Adam West 6-0, 6-3.Emma Hurst (Seaton TC) suffered something of a 'shock result' when she was beaten by the lower-rated Newton Ferrers junior Natalie Hepburn (Hill Lane TC).AT EXETER Senior Week it was all a bit of a breeze for Exmouth junior Oskar Wynne who beat Kevin Davies (Seaton) 6-0, 6-0 to qualify for the men's singles main draw where he was set to play Matt West from Teignmouth.West Hill's Paul Sheaves beat qualifier Tom Lambert (Exeter) 6-2, 6-2 to stay on course for a semi-final with national deaf champion Peter Willcox (Tiverton).In the boys' 18 and under singles, Myles Fletcher (Exmouth) beat James Evans (Broadclyst) 7-5, 6-0 to reach the last 16 while, in the girls' singles, Samantha Kenshole (Clyst St Mary) booked her place in this weekend's final after beating Torquay junior Emily Plester 6-1, 6-0.In the men's veteran doubles, there was disappointment for Lympstone tennis coach James Isaacs and Tom Debenham who were beaten in the final by Phil Bastin and John Hillman 8-6 after a professional set. The veterans' events were played out over the first weekend.EMMA Hurst from Seaton Tennis Club helped the U12 Devon team win the Regional County Cup by winning all her seven matches in Bournemouth last week. Emma and the other girls in the county team, Isabella Brown and Sian Payne, who train at Exmouth, and Rebecca Ley from Torquay, now go onto the National Finals in Bolton next week to compete against the best county from each of the other regions in the UK.With great all round team spirit, the key to Devon's success was the doubles in which Hurst and Brown claimed vital victories in matches against top rivals Somerset, Cornwall and The Channel Islands.Hurst's strength in the doubles events owes much to the coaching she has received at Seaton Tennis Club from Sally Freeman, Sue Wiltshire and Kevin Davies and the fact that the youngster also attends adult club sessions in doubles, competing in plenty of adult tournaments with her club partner Kelly Gould.