GLL Sport Foundation supported athlete Emily Appleton provides a detailed summary of her achievements every month. June did not disappoint with some fantastic tennis results.
After a couple of days training on the red clay in Aix-Les-Bains, Emily headed to Paris for what was to turn out to be a very wet and soggy first foray into the French Open Juniors at Roland Garros. The weather was truly unbelievable compounded by a very tough first round singles draw against the number 4 Seed, Potapova, of Russia. Emily put up a good fight and despite going down 3-6 4-6, she thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience and it was very useful for her to spend time mixing with the other Juniors and Pro’s at this prestigious event and hopefully this will serve her well when she returns next year.
The doubles at Roland Garros was not to be as Emily’s partner, Katie Swan, made a late withdrawal. This was hugely disappointing for Emily especially as they had trained hard together but on the upside this training had included two invaluable sessions with Louis Cayer, the LTA Doubles Specialist, and much was learned that can be put to good use in the future.
After Paris, Emily moved onto the ITF Women’s Pro Circuit for a couple of weeks. Her first stop was the $50k grass court event in Surbiton. Her first round match was against the American, Alexandra Stevenson, a former Wimbledon semi finalist. This match was played on the Centre Court and Emily put on a fine display of grass court tennis and took the match 6-4 7-5. This set her up for a second round match against Melanie Oudin who has previously been world ranked 31 and who was simply too much of a challenge at this stage of Emily’s career!
In the doubles however, Emily teamed up with Emily Arbuthnott and they managed to reach the semi finals, losing only to the eventual title winners, Oudin and Marand, 7-10 in the third set tie break. These performances have taken Emily’s WTA rankings up to careers highs in both the singles (750) and doubles (661).
From Surbiton, Emily travelled north to Ilkey, where once again the rain played havoc with the scheduling such that her first round match did not take place until Thursday, which meant that she had to miss out on playing the Wimbledon Pre Qualifying event. This was disappointing but the experience gained in Ilkely was not to be missed. Emily played Cindy Burger in the singles – a Dutch woman ranked 163. Emily swiftly took the first set 6-2 but lost the second 6-3 after which the more experienced woman prevailed and took the match. In the doubles Emily teamed up with Jaimie Fourlis from Australia. They drew the number four seeds, Yang and Zhang from China – both of whom are ranked within the top 80 in World Doubles. Emily and Jaimie traded well and put in a highly respectable performance. The final score was 6-7 3-6, which was a great effort against a pair that then went on to win the title.
The Maureen Connelly Cup and the Grand Slam Four Nations Challenge in Eastbourne followed Ilkley. Once again rain disrupted play but the teams eventually got on court and Day One saw Team GB take on France. Playing at Number 1, Emily led the team with a win and her fellow teammates followed and by the end of the day the score stood at GB 6 France 0.
Day Two saw GB play the USA in the long standing Maureen Connelly Cup. Played annually this is a friendly match between the two countries and comprises four singles matches and two doubles. Emily played the world ranked number 6 player, Kayla Day, and won in three sets. The British number 4 player also managed a win, which left the match score at 2-2 after the four singles. Two exciting and close doubles matches followed with only one win needed by either team to force a Tie Break shoot out. However, despite a good fight, GB lost the first match 4-6 6-7 and the second, in the third set breaker. So the USA retain the Cup……….until the same time next year!
On Day Three, the GB team faced Australia. Over night rain delayed the start of matches and meant that a short set format had to be adopted. After players 3 and 4 had played, the GB team was 0-2 down but had high hopes for the remaining two singles. However, a downpour curtailed any chance of further matches and the remainder of the fixture had to be abandoned.
The last event of June was the Grade 1 Nike International at Roehampton held on the grass courts at the Bank of England Sports Ground. Once again, the heavy rain meant that practicing for this event was severely challenging and likewise the scheduling of matches. Emily was faced with a tough draw once more – the World number 15 (seeded 9) and winner of the French Open Doubles title. The match was played on a heavy, damp grass court in blustery conditions and Emily was unable to pull off a win. In the doubles however, Emily paired up with American, Morgan Coppoc, and they managed to reach the quarter finals before being defeated in three sets by the number 3 seeds, Juvan and Swiatek.
July sees Junior Wimbledon and a few days rest before the European Championships in Klosters and then another GB fixture – the qualifying rounds of the Reina/Soisbault Cup in Trani, Italy.
We wish Emily the best of luck in Junior Wimbledon and look forward to hearing about her July achievements!