Neptune Ladies British Open Singles and Doubles

14 Apr 2013

Claire Vigrass retains her Singles and Doubles Open titles (partnered with her sister, Sarah)

Neptune British Open Singles


Claire at the presentation. Thanks to Tory Wall for the photo.
The early rounds went as expected with the stronger players not being troubled.  In the quarter finals Karen Hird, nursing a recently sprained ankle (what wretchedly bad timing for the usually fighting fit Karen) faced her doubles partner, Freddy Adam, but the injury forced her to retire in the first set.  Next on court were Penny Lumley and Sue Haswell, as expected, this was an excellent match, although Sue only won 4 games, most  games went to deuce and every point was hard fought.  Sue never gave up but Penny proved too strong in the end, winning 6/1, 6/3.

Then came Sarah Vigrass against Alex Garside, this too was a good match but Sarah was very powerful, with some excellent shots particularly on her backhand and home court advantage could not save Alex.  Sarah won 6/2,6/0.  Claire Vigrass’ first opponent was Tara Lumley  -  what a challenge for Tara, and she played really well, getting to 30 love up in a number of games but Claire then cut the ball into the corners.  Tara has certainly improved over the last year and is a player to watch, although she did not win a game, she never gave up and produced some strong strokes.

The first semi final saw the contrasting styles of Claire against Penny.

Although Penny played really well and fought for every point, Claire proved too strong for her.  There were very many really hard, cut shots from both players and Penny got to 30 love several times but failed to make the final point each game.  Claire went on to take the match 6/0 6/0.

The other semi was Sarah against Freddy which proved closer as both players hit hard, cut shots from corner to corner but again the Vigrass skill came out and Sarah won 6/3 6/2.

So the final was a family affair, could Sarah dethrone Claire?  Sarah started strongly, winning the first two games.  Claire then settled down, began serving more tightly and made more winning shots.  Both played a number of stunning ‘on the run’ shots, they cut the ball from corner to corner and laid very good chases.  Sarah had a game point to go to 3/4 from 2/4 down but Claire took this very long seventh game.  Sarah took the next game so it was then 3/5 to Claire, who clinched the next game and the set.  Sarah bounced back to win the first game of the second set but after several hard fought, close games Claire powered her way to win the set, the match (6/3,6/1) and retain her trophy  -  a truly exceptional champion.

Neptune British Ladies Open Doubles

Karen and Freddy serving against the Vigrass sisters
In the first round match in the top half of the draw Jess Garside and Nicola Doble proved too strong for Pam Tomalin and Chantelle Harding.  The younger ones played so many cut shots and really good volleys that Pam and Chantelle found they could not get a game with the girls winning 6/0 6/0.  In the next round Jess and Nicola played Penny and Tara Lumley,  it was a good match, with the Lumleys being too strong for their opponents and winning 6/2 6/1.  Their reward was a match against the holders, Claire and Sarah Vigrass, who played their usual strong game to win 6/0 6/0 and go into the final. 

The first match in the other half of the draw saw newcomer to the Open Elvira Campione playing with Lucy Hutchinson against Alex Kurkjian and Elli Harris.  Elvira and Lucy went off to a 2/0 start with the others not getting a point but then Alex and Elli settled down and went on to win 6/2 6/0.  Both Alex and Elli played the volley really well and although the game was closer than the score indicated, they were too strong for the other two.  The other first round match in that half pitted the local duo of Linda Medlow and Caroline MacDowell against Jacqui Watkins and Ashley Lenihan (another newcomer to the Open), the local ladies won 6/4 6/2 but, despite putting up a good fight, then lost to Karen Hird (making light of her injured ankle) and Freddy Adam 6/2 6/3.  Karen and Freddy reached the final by beating Alex Garside and Sue Haswell in a match where the rests were fast and furious, with many low volleys.  Karen and Freddy proved better at finishing the rests to their advantage, often with a killer volley, and won 6/2 6/3.

So the final was a rerun of the 2012 final with Claire and Sarah playing Karen and Freddy.  This time Karen and Freddy managed to get one more game than last year.

This match produced some tremendous tennis.  Claire was fearsomely fast and seemed able to return anything and everything, finding the winning gallery and the grille on numerous occasions.  She also found a gallery whenever she and Sarah wanted a chase to recover the serve.  Sarah produced some splendid cross court volleys and ground strokes. Karen and Freddy fought the whole way, making some great retrievals and excellent volleys but were unable to stop the Vigrass pair, who took the first set 6/3.  Claire and Sarah monopolised the service end in the second set and were 5/2 up when Freddy saved a match point, she and Karen won the next point to give themselves game point but Claire responded with a winning gallery and she and Sarah then took the game, the set and retained their title.  They really are a formidable pair, but credit must go to their opponents too, who fought the whole way, and especially to Karen, who was hampered by her sprained ankle.

Draws and Results

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