LRTA International 2018

10 May 2018

Tara Lumley wins 2018 Ladies Invitational International title

LRTA International 2018
LRTA International 2018
LRTA International 2018

Tara Lumley has put herself firmly up among the very top women players with a convincing win at this year’s Ladies International tournament held at Petworth May 5-6th. She beat Saskia Bollerman, recent winner of the US Ladies Open, in straight sets 6/0 6/3.

The Ladies International is held every two years, to alternate with the Ladies World Championships. The best eight women players in the world are invited to play in a round robin format, with the winner of each group of four meeting in the final.

Tara has been pressing on the heels of the top five in Ladies Singles for some time. She won five games off top-ranked Claire Fahey in the most recent World Championship (more than any other player), and was runner-up to Saskia in a tight final at the US Open last November.

But her play at Petworth was up another level, scything through her round robin matches, in an almost flawless display of technique and concentration. The win was sweeter for being watched in the dedans by her mother Penny Lumley, who knows more than a thing or two about real tennis as a winner of numerous Open and World Championship titles (and four times winner of this tournament), and also by her brother John, a RT Professional.

In the Final match against Saskia, Tara gave her opponent little chance to use her powerful volleying game, keeping the ball low and deadly accurate into the corners, seldom laying a chase worse than 2. Whenever Saskia had a chance to swing her shoulders and give the ball her hardest hit, Tara had problems. But that was too seldom, especially as Tara’s drag serve negated Saskia’s return, and any loose shot from Saskia was killed immediately with either a hit to the base of the tambour, or a lovely angle into a corner. The pressure to hit a perfect shot seemed to affect Saskia, who put far more volleys into the net than usual, while Tara stayed cool as a cucumber throughout, despite the Bank Holiday heat on court.

It was a tremendous match to watch, with both players retrieving superbly over long rests, that, as often as not, would end not with an error from one or other, but with a great shot to a winning opening.

In one way, the score did not do the match justice: 6/0 6/3 to Tara. But in another way, she deserved the conclusive win, both for her flawless play and as a tribute to her steady improvement over the last three years or so. In beating Saskia, ranked 3 in the world, Tara has definitely established her credentials as a player to be treated with respect by any opponent.

Linda Fairbrother

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